Common Mistakes By Florida Drivers

October 7, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Common Mistakes By Florida Drivers

Common Driving Mistakes Increase the Risk of Serious Car Accidents

Florida has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the U.S. Many of these car wrecks could potentially be avoided if drivers engaged in safer driving practices like using turn signals. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we are well aware of the significant consequences an auto accident can have for our clients. If you have been injured in a Florida car accident and are unsure about how you're going to manage medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs, you should contact a skilled car crash attorney at Dolman Law Group. Dolman Law Group has handled a wide variety of auto accident claims for clients who were injured as a result of a negligent driver. We have the resources, legal expertise, and work ethic needed to successfully settle your auto accident claim for maximum compensation. Our award-winning team is available to discuss your case and the benefits of our services in a free consultation today. Continue reading to find out common mistakes by Florida drivers and how to avoid them.

Neglecting to Use Turn Signals is Dangerous and Often Illegal

Florida law is pretty clear on how drivers should be handling turning or changing lanes in traffic. You must signal your intent to turn right or left continuously during the possibility of changing direction or lanes not less than 100 feet from the vehicle behind you. You may not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of the vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal to the driver of any vehicle around you or immediately in the rear. Anything less than that is a moving violation. Neglecting the use of your turning signal is actually a great contributing factor to car accidents than distracted driving. Drivers Must Observe the Right of Way When Making U-turns  A prevalent mistake in the state of Florida is making illegal U-turns, even when the intersection does not prohibit them. Drivers must still defer to the driver who has the right of way. Many drivers have competing opinions when it comes to making U-turns at intersections. Countless believe that they have the right away, when in fact drivers making the turn legally are the last person to make a move. U-turn vehicles should always yield to other vehicles approaching from side roads and cars traveling in the opposite direction. The only exception to this rule is emergency vehicles. Continually, vehicles attempting a U-turn must yield to all approaching vehicles which may be trying to make a right hand turn from that road. People should only try to make a turn when it is clear and safe to do so.

Studies Show Using Turn Signals Can Reduce the Risk of Auto Accidents 

Even though using signals is one of the most basic rules of driving, motorists either neglect to use their signals when changing lanes-or fail to turn the signals off- about 48% of the time. When trying to make a turn, the failure rate is 25% of the time. A new study by the Society of Automotive Engineers states these statistics to prove how this laziness epidemic is worse than distracted drivers. These numbers reveal that drivers fail to use signals 2 billion times a day or 750 billion times annually. To put things in perspective, that's an average of 5,000 mishaps a day or an estimated average of 100 crashes each day in every state. That's more than twice the 950,000 car accidents linked to distracted driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation under Sec. Ray LaHood. Richard Ponziani, P.E., President of RLP Engineering and author of the study stated that this simple and useful technique is an extremely effective way to discourage traffic accidents caused by drivers changing directions. Drivers must understand that they have an ongoing duty to use their signals, “just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or a red light.” There is no reason why motorists should not use their signals. Nevertheless, a poll completed by 1-800 NEED HELP shared the reasons drivers used to justify not using their signals.

Why Florida Drivers Fail to Use Their Turn Signals

  • They don't want their access to be blocked. In heavy congestion some drivers illegally fail to signal because they want to maneuver between two other vehicles and the fear of letting the other vehicles know this will cause them to be cut off.
  • They think that turning signals are not needed at least some of the time. Some drivers believe that if there are no other vehicles within their visibility, there is no need to signal. However, this is illegal and drivers who ignore using their signal in this matter risk the possibility of forming a very bad habit.
  • They don't have enough time. Some drivers state that by the time they realize their turn is coming up, they do not have the time to signal. However, making an unexpected movement to turn while giving no warning to other drivers around can catch other cars off guard. This lack of indication causes car accidents.
  • They simply forget. There are distractions all over the road. However, making use of turn signals should be an all-the-time habit. The inclination to use signals will save drivers from the expense and hassle of a traffic ticket and possibly save them from a dangerous auto accident too.

Making Proper U-Turns Can Still Lead to Serious Auto Accidents

We've made a mistake in directions and realize that we must turn around, so we look for the closest area to turn. However, U-turns can be extremely hazardous if not authorized or followed safely. In 2007, drivers making improper turns contributed to an estimated 4,300 deaths and injuries on Florida roadways. Furthermore, crashes at intersections cause more fatalities than any other type of crash location. It's very crucial to be aware of road signs and indications of a proper turn so that major crashes can be avoided. The best way to be proactive in preventing an auto accident is to:
  • Look left and right for nearby pedestrians, bikes and other cars.
  • If the light is green, wait a few seconds before turning to avoid potential red-light runners.
  • If you creep into an intersection and the light turns red, complete a U-turn if safe. Do not back up in the turning lane.
  • Never make a U-turn on a curve, hill, or anywhere drivers cannot see you for 500ft.
  • Keep your foot near the brake when turning in case of an emergency stop.
The sign is really the main thing you should be looking out for when it comes to making a legal U-turn. Florida law states that a driver of any vehicle may only turn to proceed in the opposite direction if the turn can be completed safely without interfering with the flow of traffic and there is no road sign prohibiting a U-turn. Drivers on interstates and highways may not cross over a divided highway like I-75 or the Florida Turnpike unless there is a sign specifically authorizing the turn, otherwise drivers should wait until the next to ensure the safety of all vehicles. If traffic laws are not followed, the U-turn is ticketed as a non-moving violation.

Fatal Car Crashes Involving Improper U-Turns

Being aware of the U-turn law in your state can save you from getting involved in fatal car crashes. In Fort Myers in 2015, Stewart Hawley, 55, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident on San Carlos Boulevard. Hawley was originally traveling North on State Road 865 in a Ford pickup around 9 p.m. near the Isle of Palms Drive. Edward Cunningham and Laurie Almy of Cape Coral were hit by the truck when he was conducting an illegal U-turn. Cunningham died at the scene while Almy was hospitalized for severe motorcycle accident injuries.

Fatal U-Turn Car Accidents

In more recent news, the story of 4 Long Island women killed in a U-turn accident made headlines because of the dangerous nature of that specific U-turn. Brittney Schulman, 23, and Lauren Baruch, 24, both of Smithtown; Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park; and Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack along with 4 others, were traveling back from a bachelorette party at a local winery when a pickup truck, driven by Steven Romeo, plowed into the limo they were traveling in. The limo that was driving the 8 women tried to make a U-turn at the intersection of County Road 48 and Depot Lane in the Town of Southold. The limo was turning westbound to go back to Smithtown and did not see the pickup. Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said U-turns at the accident site are not prohibited, but limo drivers have been getting summonses for the way they are making the U-turn. They have to swing out and may be virtually blocking the two westbound lanes as they turn around, making it a prime spot for car accidents.

Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

As one of Florida's leading personal injury law firms, the car crash lawyers of Dolman Law Group have established ourselves as expert negotiators. We know how to anticipate insurance company tactics and craft strategies to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your auto accident damages. Some of our recent car accident settlements include:
  • 220 thousand dollars for a central disc protrusion from a T-Bone auto accident
  • 775 thousand dollars for a far and son who were injured in a car accident
  • 5 million dollars for a client who sustained burn injuries in an auto accident
When you place your trust in Dolman Law Group, our team takes that seriously. We will keep in close communication with you about your auto accident claim and make your needs our priority. If you would like to know more about the way Dolman Law Group operates, we invite you to review testimonials from former clients describing their experiences with our dedicated team.

Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Car Accident Lawsuit 

Unfortunately, many car accidents like the cases described could be avoidable if drivers followed the traffic laws of their state. When drivers do not take the proper cautionary measures, such as using turn signals and abiding by Florida's U-turn laws, the consequences can be devastating. You may be suffering under the burden of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering with no clear path forward. Dolman Law Group is prepared to help. We will work to ensure that your settlement is reflective of your needs, both past and present. Our team is also prepared to take your car crash lawsuit to trial in the event that we think that is necessary to secure a fair settlement. Coming across a driver on the road that isn't using their signals can also be very frustrating and dangerous. Careless driving behavior endangers all road users, from other drivers to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. If you or anyone you know has been in an auto accident due to a negligent driver making a U-turn or failing to use their turn signals, please call the auto accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation at (727) 451-6900 of via our website's contact page Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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