Florida is full of white sand beaches and warm weather. So it’s no surprise that Clearwater gets an influx of winter visitors trying to escape the cold in their home states every year in exchange for the warmer weather in Florida.
In Clearwater and throughout the Tampa Bay area, we call them “snowbirds.” During “snowbird season,” older guests patronize local shops and restaurants, boosting our local economy. Unfortunately, they also increase traffic and contribute to a yearly spike in auto accidents in the Sunshine State. Snowbirds flock to central or south Florida from October to April, and traffic is especially unpleasant. Many snowbirds are over 70 years old and present significant risks behind the wheel.
If you are harmed in an accident with a snowbird, contact The Fran Haasch Law Group for assistance.
Why Are Snowbirds Dangerous Drivers?
The snowbird lifestyle is one of rest and relaxation. Most snowbirds rent a vacation home when they’re in Florida and when elderly drivers congregate in one area, accidents are more likely to occur.
- Lack of familiarity with the area – Most snowbirds only live in Florida for about six months every year. If they become lost, they may get distracted by cellphones and GPS devices.
- Difficulty estimating distance – As eyesight fades in older individuals, so does their ability to drive safely. If someone cannot judge distance, they may pull out into traffic and cause an accident.
- Poor eyesight – Snowbirds tend to have vision problems. If a snowbird cannot read a stop sign, they may enter the intersection at an inappropriate time or fail to see a child on the roadway.
- Forgetfulness – Older drivers can forget the rules of the road, forget to signal and check their blind spot, or forget to yield the right of way. This is especially dangerous when pedestrians, bikers, or cyclists are on the road.
- Slow reaction time – Driving under the speed limit can contribute to a crash, as can taking too long to respond to a potential hazard.
- Serious medical conditions – If an elderly driver has dementia, they may be driving around aimlessly, even if it is unsafe to do so. Older drivers are also at risk of having a stroke or heart attack behind the wheel and losing control of their vehicle.
Steer Clear of Snowbirds on the Road
If you can, try to avoid driving during the times when snowbirds are most likely to be on the road. Snowbirds prefer to drive in the early morning and late afternoon, as many of them are retired and have the flexibility to travel during these times. If you must drive during these times, be extra cautious and watch out for any sudden changes in traffic.
Other ways to keep yourself safe during the winter months include:
- Always obey traffic laws
- Stay alert
- Keep an eye out for distracted or otherwise dangerous drivers
- Limit distractions in your own vehicle
- Be kind and courteous
- Be extra cautious near RV parks and rental communities
If a snowbird cuts you off and you’re paying close attention, you may be able to prevent an accident. However, if an elderly driver plows into your vehicle, there’s not much you can do besides keep a level head and get evaluated for injuries.
Injured in a “Snowbird” Accident?
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we are committed to fighting for your fair recovery. We strive to help injured individuals and the loved ones of those wrongfully killed, secure the full, fair recovery they are owed. We offer dedicated legal representation for car accident victims and bicycle, rideshare, and semi-truck accidents victims.
If you feel you have been the victim of a car accident through no fault of your own. Our attorneys are prepared to help you navigate the legal process and work toward securing the maximum compensation you are owed.Call (727) 784-8191 or contact us online to get started on receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury case.