15 Mar

6 Things To Do As A New Florida Driver


6 Things To Do As A New Florida Driver

If you’re a new driver who just got your license, or you’re a new resident to the state of Florida, there are a few things you need to do or should do before you hop behind the wheel of your vehicle, below are 6. 

  • Insure your vehicle

Before you start driving your vehicle around town, it is important that you obtain proper vehicle insurance. There are thousands of insurance companies that offer different policies for drivers across the state. Before you will be able to register your vehicle with the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle department, you have to show proof of insurance. While there are additional forms of coverage like collision coverage that are optional, both personal injury protection and property damage liability are required by law. Driving without automobile insurance is illegal and will prohibit you from registering your vehicle which is also required by Florida law. 

  • Register your vehicle

In Florida, you must have a valid vehicle registration within 10 days of obtaining residency in the state. Your registration will come with a valid license plate, a registration certificate to store in your vehicle, and a registration sticker with an expiration to put on your license plate. Your initial registration has to take place in person and requires a $225 fee. You will have to provide your insurance, I.D., and a completed application for certificate of title. Once the initial registration is complete, you will only have to renew your registration once a year. You’ll be sent an updated certificate and sticker for your license plate. If you fail to renew your registration you will be charged a delinquent fee, so it is important to keep track of when renewal is necessary. 

  • Understand the basics of your vehicle

Understanding the basics of your vehicle is key to safe operation on a day to day basis. The Zebra conducted a study of 5,000 Americans, to see if they knew what their basic car symbols meant. Within the results, they found the following:

  • 73% of Americans don’t know what their oil pressure warning light means.
  • 40% of Americans don’t understand their coolant temperature warning light.30% of Americans don’t know what their tire pressure light means.

While oil/tire pressure, and coolant temperature aren’t critical issues from the start, when ignored, they can threaten the safety of your vehicle and yourself. It is important that you prioritize familiarizing yourself with the lights on your dash, so you can address any issues from the moment they arise before small problems become big ones. Every vehicle typically comes with a manual that covers dash symbols and their meanings. If not, they are easily accessible online. 

  • Ensure you have a spare tire

In 2017, AAA did a study that showed that many new makes of vehicles no longer come with a spare tire in an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel economy. While this is probably cost effective for automobile manufacturers, it isn’t smart or safe for you. No matter where you drive, you don’t have complete control over your surroundings at all times. Road hazards can be as small as a nail and tank your whole day by flattening your tire. Being prepared with a spare tire is always a good idea and is in the best interest of your safety. 

  • Be prepared for Florida weather

In Florida, the weather can be quite unpredictable. It isn’t uncommon that the sun is shining while rain pours simultaneously. Despite Florida being one of the nations top vacation spots, we get a substantial amount of rainfall throughout the year, but especially in July-September. Because the weather changes so quickly, it is important that you are able to adapt to the change when you are behind the wheel. If you are uncomfortable driving in the rain and have the ability to opt out of being on the road when it rains, you should do so. However, there’s no telling when we will get a shower, and you may need to get to work, run errands, or do something else in the midst of a downpour. If so, understand that large puddles, while sometimes avoidable, can cause your vehicle to hydroplane. If it does, you may lose control and get into an accident. Maintaining control of your wheel at all times is important for your safety, as well as other drivers around you. It also wouldn’t hurt to keep an umbrella in the back seat. 

  • Get a SunPass

One great thing about Florida (though some might disagree) is our easy access to the highway which gets us all around more quickly. A requirement of using most highways in Florida is paying a toll, OR using what is called a SunPass. The SunPass attaches to the inside of your windshield and is scanned at certain overpaths on various highways. When you purchase the SunPass, you’ll create an account and load the pass with money. Once it runs out, you’ll need to add additional funds or set your account up for recurring withdrawals. SunPass is also compatible with other Florida tolls, as well as tolls in Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, and Oklahoma. 

What to do if you are injured in an accident in Florida

Even if you are a properly prepared, licensed, insured, and registered Florida driver, accidents still happen. If you are ever injured by another Florida driver The Florida Law Group can help. We are passionate about helping accident victims secure the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Call today for a free confidential consultation with one of our attorneys. 

About our firm 

Our firm has been protecting accident victims in Florida since 1984 and our attorneys have over 100+ years of combined experience. The Florida Law Group has been acknowledged and awarded by some of the most prestigious legal organizations in the country like The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Best Lawyers In America, Florida Super Lawyers, The National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and more!