We need to really have a talk about your driving Hillsborough County. I don’t want to say that many of you drive poorly, but can we be honest? Many of you do…
Now please understand, this is not about shamming or namecalling or being that rage driving that has a ton of problems and just can’t seem to keep life together. This is serious business and goes well beyond the annoyance of being surrounded by a lot of poor drivers, although we will cover that a bit later. This is about life and death and I’d like you to follow along with me here.
Hillsborough Country Drivers Are Bad
Hillsborough County drivers are bad. There I said it. But don’t just take my word for it or the word of a lot of the people who are reading this and would like to have an honest conversation with you about your driving. Let’s look at some actual data and see if together we can work something out and make an impact.
Recently AutoInsurance.org published a study that explored intersection traffic fatalities from the year 2010 to 2017 in states, cities, and counties across the United States. They used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which is a national database of deadly accidents run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since intersection traffic accidents claim more lives each day than any other threat, it is important that this data be taken seriously. Here is what the data showed:
Hillsborough County had the 8th largest quantity of intersection fatalities out of all of the counties in the country. Think about that for a moment. There are only 7 other counties in the entire country with more fatal intersection crashes than our beloved Hillsborough County.
Florida Also Has Driver Problems
Guess what, we’re not alone here in Hillsborough County. Florida has 4 of the top ten counties in the country on this list, but only Miami-Dade was worse than us at the third most dangerous spot in the country. As if this wasn’t the worst rankings, Florida manages to top another list in the study. In fact, Florida take the top 7 US Highways with the most fatal intersection crashes. And to make matters even worse, Florida takes the top spot at 10.03 fatalities per 1,000 miles of road.
Why Are We Poor Drivers In Hillsborough County?
Now if you have lived in Florida and here in Hillsborough County, you may not have known these shocking statistics, but you are likely aware that driving isn’t the number one skillset of our residents. Like many of us, we may all have some ideas about why this is the case, but the study claims that the reason for Florida’s dismal rankings is not having enough resources to police Florida roads properly and that is shown by rapid declines in traffic citations in several Florida counties.
We have heard a lot of reasons why Florida and Hillsborough County have such a significant driving problem, but many aren’t based on science. From an aged population, cultural diversity and uninvolved parenting, the fact is that we have a problem and it needs to be addressed.
Annoying Hillsborough County Drivers
We have spoken about the data that basically proves we have a problem with driving here in Hillsborough County, but the study doesn’t address some of the annoying driving habits that are also prevalent here. Though not an exhaustive list, here are a few things that I think many of us get annoyed with all too often enough in our area.
First of all, if you are still reading this article, you are likely one of the good drivers. An unfortunate fact that I have learned about drivers is those who believe they are a great driver, do not listen to driving advice or have no interest in learning are already gone. The ones who need this information the most, don’t think that they need it. So let’s help our neighbors, friends, and family with some kind and helpful suggestions.
You need to let other drivers know what you are doing. Use your blinkers well before you are going to slow down to turn and use them EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Ok, this one is likely the biggest issue I have seen since arriving here in Hillsborough County and beyond. The left lane is called the passing lane or the FAST lane. It is called this for a reason. If traffic is moving faster than you are, you need to move to the lane to your right. It’s not only courteous, but it’s also the law!
Merge and Yield?
These two skills kind of go together like peanut butter and jelly. Let’s cover them one at a time.
Merge – The act of combining to form a single line. The best way to do this is to alternate one car, then another. Work together people, you can do this!
Yield – I know this can be confusing, but yield does NOT mean stop. It means that IF there is a car crossing the intersection, you need to wait for them. If there is NOT a car, you just keep right on going like nothing ever happened.
Green Means Go
When the stoplight turns from red to green, you are allowed to go. In fact, we encourage you to go when it turns green, not sometime after. Some people are actually paying attention and need to be somewhere.
Get Off Your Phone
I don’t know about you, but we notice A LOT of people in Hillsborough County are frequently on their handheld phones talking or texting. It appears to be more common here than anywhere else I have been in the country. Many people doing this are also doing all of the other items listed above. Coincidence? Unlikely.
It’s Not All About You
Lastly, it’s not all about you. If more of used the golden rule and thought about people other than ourselves while driving, we would have far fewer issues. If you are at a long light, be sure to move quickly to allow those behind you to get through the light also. If you are in traffic, let others in so it doesn’t get even more clogged up. If you are holding up other drivers for whatever reason, move over.
Be kind, think about what you are doing and teach others to drive with awareness and safety in mind. Let’s change the reputation of our county and do it with grace and kindness.