What South Florida should know about snowbirds and auto accident
Auto accidents increase in South Florida during the winter months.
One reason is the migration of “snowbirds” to South Florida.
What is a snowbird?
Snowbirds are people who live in higher latitudes who travel to Florida during the winter months. They arrive after Thanksgiving, go home for Christmas, come back right after the New Year, and stay until Early April.
Where will I find snowbirds?
You can find snowbirds everywhere in South Florida, but they love to come to the suburbs of Fort Lauderdale, such as Weston, Plantation, Coral Springs and Parkland, to be close to their children and grandchildren.
You can typically spot a snowbird by looking for behemoth vehicles – usually Cadillac’s and Lincolns from the early 2000’s – with out-of-state license plates (New York and Canadian plates are common in South Florida).
Why do I have to worry about snowbirds?
Snowbirds typically appear to be poor drivers with increased chances to get into auto accidents. This perception can be due to a lot of reasons:
- They are often elderly
- They tend to drive only a few months out of the year
- Their vehicles lack current safety features such as rear-view cameras
- They are not familiar with the roads
- They have poor eyesight and hearing – the sun sets earlier in the Winter months
- They have decreased reflexes
- They are driving in the most populated places (malls, beach, restaurants)
- Not courteous
What to look out for while driving with snowbirds in South Florida
Snowbirds have a tendency to:
- Make unsafe lane changes
- Fail to yield the right of way
- Drive slowly – especially when merging into traffic
- Stop abruptly at yellow lights – as they have difficulty judging distances
- Reverse into vehicles in parking lots
Additionally, snowbirds are more likely to be involved in a “hit and run” accident, as they may not realize they got into a car accident.
If you are involved in a car accident involving an elderly individual or snowbird, it is crucial you call 911 to memorialize the accident and take pictures of the damage to both vehicles.
Make sure you obtain their auto insurance information and seek medical treatment.
Although snowbirds are poor drivers, they oftentimes have excellent auto insurance with high bodily injury limits.