Needed Before Starting Your Car: Keys, Beverage, Cell Phone, Headset, Snacks,…


I want to give a huge shoutout to my adopted state of Florida for having the 6th worst drivers in the country. Even more kudos for grabbing first place in the “careless” category. All this from a new study from using statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Motorists Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Yes sir-ee bob, we were the worst for careless driving, 48th for tickets, 38th for failure to obey traffic signals and seat belts, 33rd for fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled (whatever that means) and 18th for drunken driving. The really good news I gather from all the statistics is that I am way more likely to encounter a stupid driver rather than a drunk driver. A smart time I think to be out and about in your Florida car is between 10 AM and noon. My theory is that most of the adult population is at work, teenage drivers are hopfully in school, and most drunkards are still in bed sleeping it off. This leaves a large percentage of elderly drivers on the road at this time  but they generally drive too slow to cause much damage. The absolute worst times to be near an elderly driver are when they are either parking the car or leaving a parking space. In either case, you do not want to be standing in front or at the back of their car. Gas pedals and brake pedals can be confusibg for some, and it would be a shame to be smooshed by a car because of this simple mistake of not using the correct floor pedal at the correct time.

Why we do not carry the top honor for worst drivers is a mystery to me because Flordia has Disney World. The next time you visit and you pay attention to the crowds, notice how when arriving everyone is smiling and laughing anticipating a fun day. Now notice the crowd when leaving; hot, tired, sleepy, grumpy, and dopey, Kids are pushed into their cars, and Dad and Mom can’t wait to get off the grounds. Spend multiuple days there and the highways become background locations for “Fast & Furious XII”.

In south Florida it is very trendy to bring your pooch with you while driving; letting a small one sit on your lap to and from the beauty parlor or grocery shopping, and big ones to pound the floor bed of a pick-up truck barking at everything and anything that breaths. The other day in my community I saw a leashed dog running beside it’s owner’s car. The driver was holding the leash while driving. Wow, that’s not a disaster waiting to happen. Also consider a popular road game here, “Make It Through The Intersection Before the Light Turns Red”. Funny thing about Flordia drivers. We think the highest speed limits are located in the middle of a traffic intersection.

When it comes to carelessness, I’ve had my moment. On vacation on the west coast of Florida, I backed over a mailbox of a rented home. The good news was that the ground was so soft, the mailbox was not damaged. Luckily for me there were landscaping workers near-by that I paid to put it back, and I suggested cement to keep it more sturdy. It was secured the same day and sturdy as a rock the following day. It was sometime later that I found out the neighborhood had rules forbiding cemented mailboxes. Who knew? Silly rule!

So you may be wondering what other states had drivers actually worse than Florida? (Drum roll please) 5. Alabama, 4. Texas, 3. Mississippi, 2. South Carolina, and 1. Louisiana (crash of cymbals)!! If you are reding this while not driving, you probably just realized they are all in the south! Maybe with further study a connection between fried food, sweet iced tea and bad driving might be discovered. Maybe the fact that in these states during all twelve months of the year, you can accidentally drop a scoop of ice-cream between your legs while driving, resulting in some very strange traffic patterns. Or, consider the general politics of these states and the historic difficulty in passing road saefty legislation. Add these all up and you produce study results like those previously mentioned. Who knows, if this keeps up, Florida might change it’s motto to the “LOOKOUT!!!” state (crash of cymbals).


About Alan G Billingsley

My career has been varied, including time as a newspaper deliverer, lifeguard, bubble gum maker, door-to-door detergent promoter, telephone book proofreader, short order cook, private employment agency counselor and owner, office and credit manger, infantryman, pots and pans salesman, Chinese restaurant cook, Chinese restaurant owner, public employment counselor, budget analyst, tax analyst, grant administrator, radio announcer, radio and television show host, disk jockey, automobile valet, child advocate, and now retiree. I've seldom been bored.
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2 Responses to Needed Before Starting Your Car: Keys, Beverage, Cell Phone, Headset, Snacks,…

  1. Russ Chaplin says:

    You probably get a lot of bad drivers in Florida owing to the fact that many of them are tourists coming from abroad to visit Disneyland. I had a few hairy moments when driving in the US many years age like turning onto the wrong side of the road. Luckily I survived. Distracted driving is a big thing here in the UK too. I think it’s the same everywhere.

  2. Excellent point Russ and it probably explains a lot. When visitng a foreign country with different driving patterns, I never drive a car for fear that on a moments noctice, I might react totally contrary to my best interests.

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