Exceptional citrus, abundant sunshine, gorgeous beaches—there’s a lot to love about Florida. In 2022, approximately 320,000 people packed their bags and flocked to the Sunshine State, increasing its population by nearly 2%, according to the US Census Bureau.
With that influx of new residents, Florida became the most popular state to move to last year. But these newly relocated people don’t know they’re signing up for a hidden danger: Florida has the worst drivers in the country, according to research by Clever Move.
From uninsured motorists to an above-average traffic fatality rate, you’ll want to buckle up if you’re planning a move to Florida.
Hot sun: an even warmer business climate
Many people who move to Florida are drawn to its great weather and lack of state income taxes. It’s easy to imagine spending long days lounging on the pristine beaches of the Gulf Coast and keeping more of your paycheck while doing it.
And people don’t move long distances for this change of scenery. According to research from the Home Bay real estate website, 61% of all moves in 2022 were within 20 miles, but it includes moves by Americans living along state lines. Consider going south over the Georgia line to escape state taxes and get a quarter percentage point decrease in your corporate tax rate, for example.
From space exploration to cruise lines to homeland security, Florida’s various industries contribute to its $1 trillion GDP. Businesses are soaking up the rays of Florida’s low corporate tax rate (just 5.5% in 2022) and lighter regulations. This business-friendly environment creates more job opportunities and a relatively low unemployment rate.
Florida also demonstrated remarkable resilience in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reports that cities like Ocala, Tallahassee and Deltona experienced the highest job recovery numbers in a state that averaged a 4.6% job increase in 2022.
But if the prospect of warmer weather, beaches, businesses, and alligators as your neighbors aren’t enough to convince you, consider this: In 2021, the annual Mindbody Wellness study ranked Florida’s largest city, Miami, the happiest of all. the United States. state
Giving in to bad drivers
But don’t schedule the moving truck yet.
Florida drivers are an eclectic mix of snowbirds, remote workers, retirees and tourists, all vying for space on busy highways. These drivers come from all over the country, bringing their own unique driving habits and assumed rules of the road. It’s a chaotic mix of traffic, seasoned with a dose of road rage and served up with bumper-to-bumper congestion.
This potent combination of drivers from across the country on a collision course with an unfamiliar landscape has disastrous consequences: Florida boasts three cities with the worst drivers in the US: Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa, in order from most to slightly least. awful. These cities have earned their dubious distinction by ranking high in the worst possible way.
The cost of insurance
In Tampa, the average annual cost to insure a vehicle is around $3,459. This is the fifth highest insurance rate in the country. And because it’s so expensive, 20% of Florida drivers don’t have insurance. This is 54% higher than the average for other cities in the survey.
Even those who properly insure their cars are not immune to the high cost of driving in Florida. Uninsured motorist coverage adds another $100 or more to your annual bill. In addition to the strain on your wallet, dealing with uninsured motorists and the aftermath of a collision can also cause immeasurable stress.
The risk behind the wheel
Long days spent drinking frozen daiquiris on the beach can have disastrous consequences behind the wheel. In Jacksonville, alcohol-related driving deaths occur at 2.9 per 100,000 residents. The average city in the Clever Move study experiences only a third of that.
Removing alcohol from the equation also does not lower the death rate. At 9.1 per 100,000 residents, Orlando alone has nearly seven more traffic deaths per capita than the average US city and Jacksonville, the number one city for the worst drivers in the US. In the US, nearly 11 people per 100,000 die.
The good outweighs the bad
Florida roads are paved with many bad drivers.
While this may lead many people to reconsider their decision to move, Florida continues to add thousands of residents seeking the sand, sea, and sun each year.
They may be dodging tourists unfamiliar with the roads or keeping up with the interstates, but they’re happy to be home.