It is devastating that after all of the educational dialogue, media frenzy and overall attention that has been swirling around distracted driving due to cell phones that we are still seeing deaths occur. This past Friday a teenager was killed in a car accident in Tampa and Hillsborough Police has determined that texting on a cell phone was involved. Distracted driving is a hazard and with the cooler weather starting; that hazard is about to increase…drastically.

Tampa’s highways are some of the most heavily populated in Florida. As the winter months approach; the total vehicle population on these roadways can increase as much as 400%. Hillsborough and Polk County are popular winter vacation destinations. The threat for vehicle accidents both minor and fatal; increases as the winter months approach. Think about it; a lot of the drivers that will be traveling our roadways will be from out of state, thus unfamiliar with the area and their destination. Some will be listening to GPS or looking at maps, checking emails and texts cell phones, or tired from being in a car for long periods of time. All of these factors can add to the inability to react quickly when there are potential accidents on the road. Those seemingly simple negligent behaviors lead to hundreds of Wrongful Death cases each year.

There are a few proactive things you can do as the vacation season approaches in Central Florida to avoid a crash.

  1. Acknowledge the change in vehicle population – talk about it with family (especially teenage drivers). Remind everyone the commute to work, school and even the mall will be longer during this time. Discuss the increase of distractions and teach defensive driving tools.
  2. Stay OFF the cell phone – even if your daily commute has tripled due to the snowbirds starting to flutter in; avoid texting home that you are in traffic. After all, you talked about it in point #1 right?
  3. Keep calm and drive on – with increased traffic and delays; tension builds and cases of road rage escalate. Remember getting there safely and later is better than not getting there at all. Here’s a novel idea: leave earlier and avoid the aggravation.
  4. Don’t let your gas tank go past 1/4 full – It is a bit unnerving when you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on 1-75 or I-4 to see that flashing ‘low gas’ light as the needle approaches the middle of the ‘E’. That will just increase your stress and inability to make rational choices when driving.
  5. Research a new route – If you complain year after year how long you sit on the highway to get 4 miles to the exit for work from October to March, take action!! Start exploring the ‘back way’ to work. Maybe you will find a road less traveled and therefore, less stressed.

Avoiding an accident and a potentially serious injury, or even death should be your first priority on the road.

If you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident, call Brooks Law Group. We want to help.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.