Florida has some of the most scenic roads anywhere in the nation, and millions of visitors are drawn each year to tour the state. An unfortunate fact is that Florida highways consistently rank in the top five on lists of the most dangerous roads. Sometimes, you may not be able to avoid driving on a dangerous road, so knowing when and why accidents happen on the worst Florida roads might help you avoid a crash. If you are injured in a car accident on any road in Florida, our attorneys are here to help you get the medical and financial help you need.
What Makes Some Roads More Dangerous?
Several factors cause some roads to experience more accidents than others, and there are reasons why some roads have more fatalities than others. Across all roads in Florida, the most common factors resulting in fatal car accidents are driving too fast, intoxication, not paying attention, and lack of seat belt use. Some roads are more dangerous at certain times of day or days of the week, and weather can be a significant contributing factor that makes some roads more dangerous for drivers in Florida.
The Impact of Speed on Car Accidents
It’s no secret that driving too fast is risky behavior that can cause serious accidents. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department (FLHSMV) reports that 134 drivers were killed in 2019 due to exceeding the posted speed limit, while another 58 died due to driving too fast for the road conditions. These numbers only include the drivers of at-fault vehicles. The true number of injuries and death as a result of speeding is much higher.
Road rage is often a term used to describe aggressive drivers who make frequent, sudden lane changes, drive too fast for conditions, and express anger at others the driver perceives as impeding their way. According to FLHSMV, 89 drivers died due to erratic, reckless, or aggressive driving in 2019. Speed-related car crashes and deaths are almost 100% avoidable, which makes the number of people killed each year even more tragic.
Non-Fatality Injuries Due to Speeding
Fatalities are the worst-case scenario in a Florida car crash. Injuries are much more common in car crashes that involve excessive speeding and reckless driving. More than 1,000 people suffered some level of injury due to exceeding speed limits, and another 4,446 people were injured due to car crashes from driving too fast for road conditions.
Aggressive driving resulted in 1,657 injuries in 2019 according to data published by FLHSMV. Injuries range from minor bumps and bruises to incapacitating injuries with life-altering consequences.
Drugs, Alcohol, and the Impact on Florida’s Dangerous Roads
Driving drunk or on drugs is very dangerous, and the reason it’s solely illegal, it is very valid. In 2019, 675 drivers and 132 passengers were killed in car accidents caused by drugs and alcohol use in Florida. That same year, 2,676 drivers were injured and 1,229 passengers sustained an injury in alcohol or drug-related car crashes in Florida.
Like speed-related crashes, injuries are common in alcohol and drug-related accidents. Nearly 3,000 drivers and over 1,500 passengers were injured in crashes that were caused by alcohol and drug use in 2019. Drunk and impaired driving continues to be a significant cause of fatal crashes in Florida.
Distracted Driving in Florida
Distracted driving is increasingly a cause of car crashes in Florida, and it’s a serious problem on some of the most dangerous roads. Drivers are frequently distracted by phones, infotainment systems, kids and pets, and Florida’s scenery. In the amount of time it takes to look at a text message your vehicle may travel the length of a football field. Can you imagine closing your eyes while driving for that long?
Using a cellphone while driving in Florida is illegal, and for good reason. Imagine in our above scenario- once you realize there is a problem, you still have to stop your car. An average car may take more than 300 feet to stop from a speed of 60 mph. That’s another football field you’d drive through. Even drivers who are paying razor-sharp attention to the road may have difficulty stopping their car before being in an accident; a driver who is distracted has almost no chance of avoiding a collision.
Cellphones are likely the largest contributor to distracted driving accidents nationwide. Since 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 13% of distracted driving accidents involved at least one driver using a cellphone. Distracted driving due to cell phone use resulted in 385 deaths nationwide in 2018.
Seat belts Save Lives
Nearly half of the occupants of vehicles killed in crashes every year are not wearing their seat belt, despite laws stretching back to the 1960’s. A seat belt can save your life in almost any accident scenario, and they are particularly important in head-on collisions and roll over accidents. Simply buckling up can be the difference between survival when you are in a car accident.
In total, there were just over 3,000 fatalities reported by FLHSMV during 2019 for all causes. In Florida during 2019, 1,229 drivers and 439 passengers died in car accidents while not wearing a seat belt. Those numbers are slightly higher than 2018, a disturbing trend on Florida’s most dangerous roads. Nearly 91% of occupants report using a seat belt when in a car in 2019, indicating that half of the yearly fatalities might be avoided by wearing a seat belt. Statistics from NHTSA indicate that you have a 50% to 65% better chance of surviving a car accident when wearing your seat belt.
Tourism and the Impact on Florida Roads
Florida is the second-most visited state in the nation according to Business Insider Magazine. That means lots of tourists on the roads in the Sunshine State, and lots of opportunity for things to go wrong.
There are no statistics commonly available to indicate how many tourists get into car crashes every year. Tourists are often unfamiliar with the area and are distracted catching the sights and following GPS navigation directions. There are lots of ways drivers from other parts of the country can be involved in car accidents.
The Most Dangerous Roads in Florida
The risk factors above increase the likelihood of serious crashes on any road, but Florida consistently ranks at or near the top of the most deadly and dangerous roads in America. There isn’t any one reason more fatal crashes happen in Florida, but rather a range of contributing factors.
Teletrac Navman produces an infographic that ranks the most deadly U.S. numbered and interstate highway systems that uses five years of accident data from the NHTSA and transportation data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to determine highways with the most fatalities per mile between 2011 and 2015. The graphic includes information about the time of day, week,month, and location on each highway with the highest chance of a fatal accident.
I-4 Tampa to Daytona Beach
This 132 mile stretch of road ranked #1 most deadly per mile in the data compilation. Over five years, I-4 amassed a grizzly 1.25 deaths per mile. According to the dataset, the largest cluster of fatalities was in Orlando. The graphic indicates the most deaths happened in January and on Sundays between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM.
U.S. 192 Four Corners to Indialantic
An average of .867 drivers died per mile on this 75 mile stretch of Florida highway. It’s the #3 most deadly highways according to the data. Fridays in October between 8 and 9 PM are the most dangerous. The most frequent car crash that resulted in a fatality involved pedestrians with Melbourne the most likely.
I-95 Miami to MA
Over its total length of 1,920 miles, I-95 claimed .730 lives per mile, but the largest cluster of deaths happened in Jacksonville. The highway ranks #5 deadliest per mile. The most deadly time of day is 1:00 AM. Sundays in July also tend to experience more fatal crashes.
U.S. 1 Key West to the Georgia Border
Geotab, a fleet management company used data similar to the above information over a ten year period and identified this 845 mile stretch of highway to experience more crashes and fatalities than any other in the US.
These might be the most dangerous roads in Florida for any number of reasons. The best thing you can do is to make sure you are a safe and sober driver. It’s really important to remember not to allow cellphones, infotainment systems, kids, or the beautiful scenery to distract you from being a safe Florida driver.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents will happen, even if you are the safest driver you can be. Our attorneys are here to help you get the best medical treatment and financial settlement you deserve. We can help you resolve your claim quickly and stress-free regardless of whether it happened on the worst road in Florida.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Florida, we can help you. We provide a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced at getting the best settlement for victims of car accidents in Florida. Reach out to us today and get the help you deserve.