How to Stay Safe on the Road During Tourist Season

Southwest Florida is seeing a record number of tourists this season. State of Florida statistics indicate that as many as 2.5 million tourists and seasonal residents will visit Naples and Fort Myers between the months of December and April. While these visitors bring plenty of economic benefits for Naples, Fort Myers, and the rest of Southwest Florida, the flood of tourists also brings a major problem – traffic congestion and many more motor vehicle crashes! At times, it feels as if there is another red light every other block.

Traffic flow studies suggest that it takes more than twice as long to travel to most places in Naples and Fort Myers during season than it does out of season. In addition to more vehicles on the roads, many of these drivers are unfamiliar with the roads and location of traffic control devices. This combination of millions of new drivers on the road, many of whom become frustrated and impatient due to the traffic jams, create a recipe for disaster.

Collier and Lee Counties are constantly planning for and improving the roads and traffic controls to accommodate this seasonal surge in population for Naples, Fort Myers, and the surrounding areas. Such proactive measures are crucial as Southwest Florida enters a likely period of increased traffic, thanks to projected growth in tourism and permanent residents. The University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research projects Lee County's population will grow at an annual rate of 2.5 percent through 2040.

At The Trial Professionals P.A., we notice a 500% increase in accident-related injury cases during the seasonal months – especially rear-end motor vehicle crashes caused by inattentive or distracted drivers. Please always remember to allow yourself at least twice as much time to travel somewhere during season as you would out of season. Please be a defensive driver and allow plenty of distance between yourself and other vehicles.

Finally, if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash, please follow these 10 steps to take after an accident:

1. Call 911 immediately after an accident.
2. Take photographs.
3. Gather as much information as possible about the other driver and any witnesses.
4. Cooperate with the police.
5. Do not admit fault or partial responsibility for the accident.
6. Get a copy of the driver exchange of information, police report, or police report number.
7. Get medical attention.
8. Contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney (1-800 Trial-Pro).
9. Report the accident to YOUR insurance company.
10. Do not speak with the other side’s insurance company about your injuries.

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