By James Hill Jr.
Florida gets a bad rep for its highways. Commuters are dubbed “bad drivers,” but that’s necessarily the case. With so many people migrating to Florida, they’re bringing their driving habits with them; some good, some not so good. And more drivers create more congested highways. Not to mention, in 2014-15 alone, the University of Central Florida housed some 60,810 students. That’s basically an entire city in itself! Here are a few tips for keeping yourself and those around you safe.
Stop Lane Jumping
This is tourist season; lots of families come down for vacation all summer long. Side note: I’m currently writing this blog after having witnessed a family heading out to Universal Studios around 7:50 a.m. I-4 can be confusing, but remember a couple of things. Left lanes are for the faster cars. Orlando is beautiful; still, don’t hog up the middle or left lanes to sightsee.
Most importantly, if you’re in the far left lane and about to miss your exit…DO. NOT. JUMP. LANES. This is the most dangerous maneuver anyone could do, and it’s a staple with drivers. If you’re going to miss the exit, keep driving and get off at the next ramp. It may set your schedule back some; however, it’s much better to keep you and your friends and family safe than to attempt something dangerous. The 30-minute to one-hour lines will still be at Disney.
Be the Tortoise Not the Hare
Usually, August through November are hectic months. I’m talking accidents upon accidents upon…accidents. Just on a little street called Alafaya, a road near UCF, I’ve seen anywhere from 3-5 accidents less than a mile apart. For my college friends, slow it down. On two separate occasions, I spoke with college drivers between the ages of 20-23. They admitted to traveling down this same road at 65 mph. 65! In “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the tortoise made it to the finish line by taking it slow and steady. Of course, that doesn’t mean driving 20 miles below the speed limit. Drive with reasonableness.
Are You Allergic to Your Turn Signals?
This is a two-fold tip. First, use the correct turn signals. Too many times, a driver will flip on the right turn signal and then quickly move into the left lane or vice versa. Don’t confuse yourself so that you don’t confuse others. After getting into your desired lane, show some courtesy and turn off the signal. It confuses the other drivers who are slowing down to let you into their lane.
Another problem is when drivers turn on their turn signals, a car in the next lane will speed up so that the signaling driver can’t get into their lane. Quickly accelerating from 45 to 57 makes you look selfish and could expose you to potential accidents.
Don’t Hulk Out
While Florida is beautiful, its heat can sometimes be unforgiving. It’s not typical heat, though. It’s a mixture of heat and humidity. Heavy traffic + Florida heat = anger. We all have places to be, and some drivers are slower than others, but that’s no reason to tailgate. If you’re riding closely behind a bumper, trying to pressure the driver to speed up, remember one brake and…disaster. In addition, if a driver cuts you off (which admittedly is irritating and inconsiderate), you’re not going to solve the problem with road rage. Heavily-congested traffic in 101 degree weather will try to convince you otherwise. Maintain your resolve.
Leave Your Home Earlier…or Else
With school back in session, the streets are packed more than ever. Times such as 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. can be problematic for commuters. Give yourself enough time to get to your destination. You may want to leave 30, 45, or 60 minutes earlier. If you listen to the radio every morning, around a certain time, you can expect to hear reports of slow traffic…and it’s normally the same areas. One, in particular, is the I-4 exit on the 408 toll road. There are two I-4 exits: one exit heading east, the other going west. Drivers in the westbound lane will hold up traffic so that they can merge into the lane that heads east and vice versa. Leave your home earlier and know the lane you need to get in beforehand to avoid contributing to this specific traffic jam problem.
Welcome to Orlando
Sure, all cities have their traffic issues; it’s not exclusive to Orlando or any city in Florida. However, Florida is a hotspot for tourists, snowbirds, and people looking for a state with favorable weather. Florida is a great place to live in. It’s sunny all year long. Winter is two, maybe three months. With so many new residents, just do your best to keep the road safe for yourself and those around you and… welcome to Orlando.
James Hill Jr. is a Freelance Remote Editor and Writer who specializes in editing marketing content, academic essays, legal transcripts, fiction and nonfiction manuscripts.