As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, Miami and the rest of South Florida offer a range of services for visitors. One of those services involves renting vehicles so that tourists can explore the region. Unfortunately, while handy, these vehicles do not come without hazards:
- Car rentals. Renting a car can help you explore more of Miami and South Florida, but unfortunately it can also be a recipe for a collision. Miami traffic can be quite heavy and visitors may be distracted by holiday plans and unfamiliar with the city, making crashes more likely. If you need to rent a car in Miami, consider getting familiar with the routes you need to take before getting in the car. Check out the car to make sure it is in good condition before getting in to drive.
- Bus tours. Some visitors decide to leave the driving to someone else and take bus tours around South Florida. While bus collisions in Miami and South Florida are less common than car accidents, they can still happen. Make sure that you check the reputation of an operator before booking your ticket; look for an operator with trainer drivers, good insurance coverage, and a transparent safety policy.
- Bicycle Rentals. Renting a bicycle can be a great way to get around, but Florida unfortunately has one of the highest bicycle collision rates in the country. If you decide to get around by bicycle, always wear a helmet and reflective clothing that makes you more visible to motorists. Try using bicycle paths rather than main roads that may not leave much room for bikes.
- Scooter rentals. Panama City Beach saw an 80 percent increase in the number of rental-scooter collisions in the past year, causing the city to pass new laws that require rental companies to offer safety information, safety vests, and insurance coverage. Other cities have also had a high number of scooter rental accidents, so if you are renting scooters, make sure that you understand the safety rules and choose your routes carefully.
- Boat tours and tour boats. Whether you rent a boat or choose a boat tour, make sure that the vessel is safe and has enough life vest for everyone on board. Keep in mind that boating and drinking is illegal in Florida, so only head out on the water if you are sober.
There are plenty of ways to get around Florida and of course you may not be able to avoid renting a vehicle to get around. Whether you leave transportation to someone else or rent a vehicle, make sure that you:
1) Find out what will happen if you are in an accident. What insurance is in place to protect you? Be wary of any rental company or tour operator without insurance. If you are injured, it could mean that you end up having to pay many of the costs out of pocket. Have travel insurance when you travel, as well.
2) Use the right safety equipment and precautions. Wear helmets on a motorcycle, bicycle, and life vests on any water craft. Wear a seat belt when driving. Keep in mind that you may be less familiar with the area if you are a visitor, so give yourself extra time.
3) Make sure the vehicle is safe. If something feels “not right” trust that instinct and ask for another vehicle or try a different rental company or tour operator. Florida has many options available, and you deserve a vacation that is safe.
If you are injured, you can always contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to find out what legal options you may have.