When you’re on vacation the last thing you need is a car accident. But accidents happen, sometimes, whether you’re ready for them or not. If you don’t know the laws in the area you are visiting, you could find yourself dealing with a situation where you don’t have the skills or know how to navigate the legal system after an accident. If you’re planning a vacation to Tampa Bay, it is essential to understand driving laws. In this article, we will cover everything about car accidents in Tampa, Florida.
Explore Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is a lovely vacation spot. With two popular aquariums, several breweries, beautiful beaches, interesting cities, a growing local food scene, Riverwalk, first and third Fridays, theme parks, museums and more.
With diversity and variety, Tampa Bay is a great spot for family vacations, romantic getaways, to attend a sporting event and even for corporate retreats. But in Tampa alone, Hillsborough County reports 2018 car crashes accounted for 179 fatalities. The total number of accidents that year was upwards of 29,000.
For some unlucky travelers to the area, those numbers may make you a Tampa Bay car accident statistic.
Florida No Fault Car Accidents
Florida is a no-fault car accident state. Due to this, the state has strict car insurance laws to protect both drivers. However, being no-fault is not the same as assigning no liability. Even in no fault states lawsuits can be brought against a defendant in a car accident. Drivers have rights and no-fault doesn’t eliminate them.
When traveling some people may opt to use a rental car, either for reliability or because they are coming from the airport after a flight. Florida is a no-fault insurance state but, much like the case for Florida drivers, visitors won’t necessarily avoid liability in a rental car, so making sure you have the right insurance coverage on your rental asset is important to protecting your finances in the event of a Tampa Bay car accident.
There are three kinds of car insurance you might commonly have on a rental car. Before you travel, check if your home insurance policy or credit card contains a clause insuring certain rental vehicles. If you don’t have coverage in one of the above ways, you will need to buy a policy from the rental car company. If you fail to do so, and you get in an accident, you can still be responsible for liability under certain conditions. For example, a rental car company might be able to sue to recover vehicle damages, but another driver wouldn’t be able to sue for pain and suffering.
Understanding rental car insurance and liability is important when vacation in Tampa Bay.
Avoiding Car Accidents
It’s not enough to be a good driver, you have to also be a good defensive driver. Further, every region has certain hazards that are indicative to the area. For instance, beach drivers with lots of surf and sea equipment attached to their cars might pose a hazard that land-locked Kansas drivers aren’t prepared for. To avoid car accidents on your Tampa vacation, understand these common causes and watch out for them:
- Failure to adhere to speed limits
- Driving distracted (SMS)
- Disregard for the right of way
- Improper maintenance of the car (e.g. windscreen wipers, steering wheel fluid, brakes, headlights, brake lights, etc)
- Using GPS in an unfamiliar area
- Driving with unsecured animals
- Reckless driving
- Ignoring traffic lights or mixing up signals
- Did not adjust the speed to the road conditions (e.g. night, rain, slippery roads)
Car Accident on Vacation: What Now?
Knowing what kinds of things to look out for is one way to get around safely, however it isn’t a sure bet. Here’s what to do if you’re in a Tampa Bay car accident while on vacation:
- Call the police and file a report
- Seek medical assistance to ensure you don’t have an injury, even if you feel okay
- Contact an attorney who knows Florida car accident law
- Contact your rental insurance through your preferred provider
Don’t Let Your Vacation Get Crushed
When you’re on vacation, it’s a time to kick back, relax and breathe a little easier. Don’t let a car accident ruin it. With the right protection, insurance and information, you can ensure a fender bender doesn’t rain on your parade. But if you do get in an accident and need assistance, contact a Florida attorney that specializes in car accident law to ensure your rights are protected.