It’s officially the holiday season, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) have roadway safety at the top of their holiday list. Millions of Floridians and visitors are expected to travel on Florida’s roadways over the next two months, and today, FLHSMV launched its Safe Holiday Travel campaign to ensure all road users Arrive Alive at their destination.
FLHSMV will be educating Floridians and visitors throughout the months of November and December on all aspects of safe driving. The multi-phased safety messaging will be staggered throughout the months, starting first with a focus on having a road-ready vehicle. Tires are a vehicle’s first line of defense on the road, so it’s critical to check your tires before hitting the road. In 2020, there were 3,069 tire-related crashes in Florida, resulting in 184 serious bodily injuries and 61 fatalities.
“Safety is always in season, and what better gift to give your loved ones this holiday season than your safe arrival,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Florida continues to be a top holiday destination for visitors and residents, making our roads some of the busiest during the upcoming months. As traffic volume increases, FLHSMV urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans, and practice safe driving behaviors to ensure the safety of all.”
In 2020, during the months of November and December, there were 1,052 crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both in Florida, and 5,442 DUI citations issued across the state. Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties by any substance or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
“The Florida Highway Patrol encourages motorists to remain vigilant on Florida’s roadways in the upcoming weeks,” said Lt. Colonel Troy L. Thompson, Acting Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “As you travel Florida’s roadways this holiday season, remember, safety is always in season. We can all do our part to ensure all travelers Arrive Alive by buckling up, slowing down, and never driving impaired.”
FLHSMV and its partners are committed to the safety of all motorists on our roads and educating everyone on safe driving throughout the holiday season – and year-round – because safety is always in season.
“The holiday season is a time to visit with friends and family, near and far. It is also one of the busiest times of the year to travel,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “On average, motor vehicle crashes occur in much higher numbers than normal at this time of year. Remember to prioritize safety by never driving impaired, wearing your seatbelt, and planning your route to ensure safe speeds on the roads. Together, we can ensure all of Florida’s travelers have a happy and safe holiday season.”
Daytona Beach Shores Police Department Chief Stephan Dembinsky, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association said, “I encourage everyone that as you are making plans for your holiday celebrations, take the time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road trip and have a plan should you need emergency roadside assistance. Holidays can be hectic, traffic can be heavy, don’t let a simple vehicle maintenance issue be the reason you don’t make it on time to a special family function. The Florida Police Chiefs Association also reminds you that Florida law enforcement officers will be on the roadways to ensure your safety, we ask that our residents and visitors be vigilant on the roadways and highways which are busier than ever during this time of year.”
“AAA wants everyone to remember that impaired driving is never safe driving,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Enjoy the holidays with loved one and keep in mind that safety should be a top priority.”
ROAD TRIP CHECKLIST AND SAFETY TIPS
Whether traveling across town or across the state, it’s important to keep safety in mind. If you prepare and practice safe driving, getting there can be half the fun!
A MONTH BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
- Check your vehicle for recalls and have any necessary repairs completed before hitting the road at nhtsa.gov/recalls.
- Register your Emergency Contact Information at flhsmv.gov/eci.
- Review and understand your car insurance coverage, especially if you recently experienced life changes that could impact your policy. That way, you can make sure your car insurance coverage fits your current needs and life situation.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
- Perform any regularly scheduled maintenance, including an oil change, and ensure your brakes are in good working order.
- Replace or repair cloudy headlights and replace worn wipers.
- Check that brake lights and turn signals are working properly.
- Inspect tires for damage and adequate tread depth and replace if necessary.
- Even if tires are in good shape, schedule an appointment to have them balanced, rotated and aligned.
- Don’t forget to check the condition of the spare tire.
A WEEK BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
- Check that your battery is maintaining a full charge.
- Ensure that you have jumper cables, the necessary equipment to replace a tire and/or your roadside service agreement is up-to-date.
THE DAY BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
- Check vehicle fluids.
- Check tire pressure, including your spare.
- When packing vehicle, be sure not to exceed the maximum weight load for your tires. See the driver side door jamb or vehicle owner s manual for specifications.
- Make sure you have your driver license, proof of insurance and registration.
DURING YOUR TRIP:
- Make sure all passengers are buckled up at all times.
- Children should be in the proper child restraint seats at all times, more information can be found at flhsmv.gov/childsafety.
- Be aware of changing speed limits.
- The limit in Florida will never be higher than 70 mph.
- Put it down and focus on driving.
- Keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on driving.
- Let your co-pilot help you navigate or change the music.
- Don’t drive drowsy.
- Take a break every 100 miles or two hours.
- Use the buddy system and switch drivers. •
- Move over for stopped emergency and service vehicles – it’s the law! •
- Write down important phone numbers and keep them in your car in case your cell phone battery dies and you don’t have a way to charge it.
- If you need to pull over:
- Stop in a safe place, out of the roadway and away from trafic.
- Turn on your emergency flashers.
- If you have emergency roadway flares in your trunk, position them conspicuously.
- If a motorist stops to render assistance, it’s better to remain in the car and ask them to get help.
- Likewise, if you see a stranded motorist, it’s better not to stop. Notify law enforcement by calling *FHP (*347).
- If you are involved in a minor crash, stay in the vehicle and call law enforcement to report the crash.
- CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING OR WITNESSING AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.
- DIAL *FHP (347) TO REPORT IMPAIRED DRIVERS, TRAFFIC CRASHES, STRANDED MOTORISTS OR DANGEROUS TRAFFIC SITUATIONS ON FLORIDA ROADWAYS.