This is the time of year when residents to the north begin packing up and securing their homes for the winter because they will soon be heading south. We lovingly call them ‘snowbirds’ because they bring some much needed relief to local economies that have been waiting all spring and summer for the winter residents to officially open up ‘tourist season.’
Unfortunately, along the way accidents may happen and these travelers may not know they have rights if they are not at fault. Each state has different road and insurance laws but of primary concern to snowbirds would be Florida on the east coast and California on the west. Here are a few road safety tips for our friends, the snowbirds, heading south for the winter.
Plan Your Route Well in Advance
One of the most common complaints and often the reason for many accidents on the road is that travelers fail to realize that some states have scheduled road work on the Interstates. This would mean I-5 going down from Washington State through Oregon and all the way south to Southern California. On the east coast there is I-95 that goes from north to south all the way to the very southern tip of Florida. These roads are getting old and often need repair or expansion of lanes.
Why states wait until tourist season is about to begin is anyone’s guess, but it seems like these ‘Road Work’ spots create traffic jams and accidents as a result of the congestion. Make sure to plug ‘alternate routes’ into your GPS before setting out to avoid construction. At least this won’t be a cause for an accident if you plan your trip in advance.
What to Do If Involved in an Accident
If you should be in an accident with injuries, especially if not-at-fault, contact a state licensed Personal Injury Lawyer the minute you can safely do so upon arrival at your destination. Traffic and insurance laws vary from state to state and if the at-fault driver and his/her insurance disputes the claim, you will want to be well represented by legal counsel.
Take Your Time – You Have All Season to Enjoy the Sun
Many times winter residents are just in a hurry to get to their vacation home. It’s been a long summer and they are ready to get back to the warm southern sun and their friends who have headed south as well. Although they all will be ‘living’ in their winter residences for as many as 4 to 6 months, snowbirds tend to just want to put the cold behind them and get to the warm sub-tropical air.
Being in a hurry gets you nowhere fast, in fact it gets you nowhere safely! Statistically, one of the leading causes of long-trip accidents is being tired behind the wheel. Sometimes you are not at fault! Although you are tired, it was the other driver of the other vehicle who is deemed ‘at fault’ but that accident might have been prevented if you were better rested and more alert.
The key to safety on long trips is to plan well in advance and take your time on the trip. Don’t drive tired and if you should be in an accident, get legal representation immediately upon arrival at your winter residence. Safety on the road is vital but so too is a safe future. Injuries may present problems later in life so representation helps to ensure a safe future. This year, plan well and enjoy the sun!