Monday, September 28, 2015

Florida’s Snowbird Season & Accidents

If you live anywhere in the south, you know that during latter part of October, the roads get a little bit tighter because of the amount of cars driving from one destination to another. From the late fall into winter months, snowbirds make their mark in Florida by escaping the harsh conditions in the North. Whether it is a family looking to vacation at Disney World and/or Busch Gardens or an elderly couple who retires to South Florida for a few months, it’s inevitable to have packed roadways. Of course with more cars, there’s an even greater chance of getting into a car accident.

To put things in perspective, approximately 500,000 snowbirds visit Broward County in the winter months alone. Over in Zephyrhills, the population is around 15,000 people. During the same winter months, the population increases to 80,000 people [1]. Besides the obvious positive boost in the economy, the negative side to this population increase is that the potential for a car accident nearly triples. When thousands of older drivers are concentrated in specific areas such as our Clearwater area, the traffic flow and patterns change dramatically. Out of the different age groups that migrate south for the winter, the elderly population is the one that causes the most damage.

Some reasons why elderly drivers over the age of 70 are at a greater risk for causing a crash include:

Ø  Irresponsibly pulling out into traffic- many older drivers are in car accidents because they pull out in front of traffic without glancing to see if it is safe to do so. This may be because they have difficulty estimating distance.
Ø  Making unsafe maneuvers- elderly drivers may change lanes without looking for another motorist or they may change direction without using signals.
Ø  Failing to yield the right of way- older drivers sometimes fail to remember driving rules or don’t see the other motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist and fail to yield to them.
Ø  Problems with vision/disability- poor sight effects the elderly population, amongst many other issues and the effects spill over into their driving.
Ø  Decreased reflexes- senior citizens move slower, drive slower and have slower reflexes that might contribute to an auto accident.
Ø  Memory loss- dementia and other diseases that affect memory in the elderly condition them to forget where they are going or have trouble remembering things such as their sense of location.
Ø  Medical issues- an elderly driver is more likely to develop a medical problem, such as a stroke or heart attack, which can prevent them from driving safely.

Reports say the number of traffic accident fatalities has increased sharply in the first half of 2015; and that’s without including the upcoming winter months. During these first 6 months, a sharp increase was seen in the number of traffic accident fatalities nationwide. The data gathered by the National Safety Council shows that approximately 19,000 people were killed in traffic crashes through June. This trend suggests that traffic deaths many surpass 40,000 by the end of this year, exceeding 2007’s record total of 44,000 according to Deborah A.P. Hersman, president of the NSC [2]. Going off of those statistics alone, and remembering the growing number of snowbirds because of record breaking winters in the north, one can only assume the dangers ahead.

Dolman Law Group
Therefore, you need an experienced attorney who can defend you after a car accident. Unfortunately, with the holiday season, we see a spike in accidents because of crowded roadways and irresponsible drivers. The arrival of snowbirds can increase the likelihood of an accident. It’s always safe to proceed with precaution during these months as well as avoiding road rage, keeping track of speed, backing off of tailgating and buckling up. Even with these safety measures in place, if you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident due to the negligence of another driver, please feel free to call the Clearwater attorneys at Dolman Law Group who know how frustrating this time can be. Call (727) 451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


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