Have you ever driven in Florida? Perhaps you’ve been there on vacation or maybe you even live there. There is no question the Sunshine State attracts some pretty bizarre drivers. What is behind this whirlpool of drivers with interesting habits behind the wheel? It turns out it is not only explainable, but almost understandable. Let’s take a look.
- Florida is a confluence of drivers from throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast. If you’ve ever driven in New York, Boston, Philadelphia or Washington DC, you understand there’s is an opportunistic driving style. This means, you go when you can go. If the guy ahead of you doesn’t react to the green light in 0.5 seconds or less, he gets the horn. If he doesn’t react in 1.5 seconds or less he will probably get an additional salute. Now, combine this with generally friendly Midwestern drivers and more laid back Southern drivers and you have a recipe for the bizarre. It is a Petri dish of driving styles and attitudes that can create some interesting and bizarre situations on Florida’s roadways.
- Florida law enforcement seems to be more “tolerable”. You can be driving along I-95, I-75 or I-4 at the speed limit or slightly above and be passed by someone going easily, 10 or 20 miles above the speed limit. You’ll rarely see them pulled over down the road. Florida seems interested in catching “super speeders”, which apparently are reaching speeds 20 miles or more above the speed limit. Stay to the right on Interstates and safely enjoy the “show”.
- Florida gets heavy rains that suddenly appear out of nowhere. One of the factors that contribute to such bizarre Florida driving behavior is this sudden change in weather. Roads are flat, drainage is not good, and drivers don’t know when to put on their lights, flashers or simply pull over. Rain has an interesting effect on Florida drivers in that there is a huge percentage who believe it has no effect, and others who believe rain is a coat of ice. When it rains, you have drivers slowing excessively and others who want to speed up to show everyone else their driving skills. It can lead to bizarre roadways.
- Everybody wants to “see” Florida. You won’t see this behavior so much on Florida’s freeways, but it can be witnessed everywhere from Daytona Beach to South Beach to Naples to Clearwater. These are the drivers that are absolutely oblivious to their surrounding. They want to see what they want to see and everyone else will have to accept it. They will cruise at 15-20 mph and look around as they cruise, totally ignoring speed limits that are double that. They don’t care if someone is behind them. They are on vacation (or have nothing better to do) and they will take their time.
- Florida has so many older drivers. Many people don’t realize that in Florida, you can renew your driver’s license for 8 years. That means, a responsible driver who is 68 years old can have their license until they are 76. This leads to a lot of drivers who are unseen behind the steering wheel. If you have driven in Florida, for any period of time, you have likely passed a car you may have believed to be “driver-less”. It may be being driven by somebody’s MeMaw. There is someone behind the wheel, they are diminutive…and likely driving bizarrely.
- There’s a LOT of rental cars on the road. Many people on Florida’s roadways are driving cars they are not familiar with. This can cause issues finding the horn, lights, windshield wipers and more. Of course, you would think these drivers would familiarize themselves, with their rental cars, before hitting the roads at 70 mph but no. They would prefer to fiddle with controls while driving, putting themselves and others in jeopardy.
If you do happen to get a traffic ticket in Florida, you may be able to get relief by taking an online traffic school course. In some cases, this can purge your offense from your record. If you happen to get caught up in Florida’s bizarre driving behavior and it leads to a citation, be sure to check out your options of using an online defensive driving course. It can make things less bizarre.