Miami beach from the street

Driving in Florida: What You Should Know

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Cara Pace
October 9, 2019

Driver’s license? Check. Auto insurance? Covered. Then it sounds like you’re ready for a road trip. If you’re planning a getaway in Florida, you have plenty of options given the 123,099 miles of roads to drive. Residents and tourists alike keep the highways busy year-round. With so many classic destinations from world-class beaches to big cities, a getaway is waiting for you in the Sunshine State.

Where to go in Florida   

South Florida. If you’re heading to South Florida, you can experience the vibrant Wynwood District art scene or South Beach nightlife in Miami. Keep going south crossing over the infamous Seven Mile Bridge to reach the laid back vibes and amazing sunsets of Key West. If beaches and bar crawls aren’t your thing, South Florida is home to the Seminole golf course, which is often billed as the best course in Florida. 

Auto insurance in Palm Beach County

Auto insurance in Broward County

Central Florida. If beaches and nightclubs aren’t on your Florida to-do list, Central Florida might be your destination choice. Orlando and Tampa are home to some of the most popular theme parks in the world, including Disney World, Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Legoland. Not into Mickey and Goofy? No problem. You’ll also find amazing golf courses and incredible shopping experiences in Central Florida.

North Florida. Looking to get in touch with nature? North Florida boasts the largest collection of freshwater springs with over 300 documented. Grab a kayak and head down the Suwannee or St. Johns River to spot some of Florida’s wildlife, such as manatees, wild hogs and river otters. 

>>RELATED: Florida driving statistics [infographic]

Florida driving laws

Driving in Florida can take you down empty backroads or put you in the middle of a congested highway. Knowing the driving laws can help make your time on the road safer. Find more Florida driving tips and laws from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

  • A valid driver's license is required to be in your possession. If you are from another country, you do not need an international driver's permit in addition to a driver's license.  
  • Everyone in the front seat must wear a seat belt. Any passengers under the age of 18 must use a seat belt while riding anywhere in the vehicle.
  • Children age 5 and under must be secured properly in a child restraint device
  • Legal speed limit signs are posted on the right side of the road. 
  • Vehicle headlights must be on from dusk to dawn, plus when it’s raining. It is illegal to drive with your flashing hazard lights on (except in a funeral procession).
  • It is illegal to drink alcohol, take drugs or be under the influence while driving. The legal drinking age in Florida is 21. Under Florida law, a DUI results from an impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
  • Texting while driving is banned and can result in a ticket.
  • The Move Over law requires you to move over a lane - if you can safely do so - for stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service vehicles and tow trucks or wreckers.

Tips on driving in Florida

In addition to obeying Florida driving laws, here are some other tips to ensure you’re safe while on the road. 

  • Florida temperatures can get extremely high. Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle
  • Some Florida highways have tolls, such as Alligator Alley, Bee Line Expressway and the Florida Turnpike. Some toll booths are manned and you can pay with cash, while others you will need exact change. 
  • Get real-time information and alerts on crashes, congestion, construction and closures on Florida's roads by using the Florida 511 information system. You can download the app or visit the Florida 511 website.
  • If you see someone dangerously speeding or engaging in aggressive driving, you can dial *FHP (*347) from your cell phone or 911 for local law enforcement.
  • Watch for motorcycles and look carefully before pulling into an intersection or changing lanes. There are over 600,000 registered motorcycles in Florida.
  • Make sure your car is in good driving condition. Check your tires and ensure you have enough gas in the tank to get you to your destination. 

Make sure you're covered

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported over 401,000 car crashes in 2018. In addition to being aware of Florida driving laws, it’s important to have the best auto insurance in case you are involved in an accident. 

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