Renting a car while on your trip to Florida is a great way to get where you need to be when you need to be there. But if you're not used to driving in Florida — or even the United States — you might be a little intimidated. To help you have an enjoyable and stress-free trip, here are five things you need to know.
1. Be Prepared to Pay Tolls
Florida, like many states, has a variety of toll roads. These are roads that charge a dollar amount for each vehicle that uses them. They help pay for the transportation network that gets everyone where they want to be.
Due to advancing technology, you don't need to stop to dig out change on the road. To boost safety and decrease delays, Florida collects tolls electronically either with a SunPass or via the toll-by-plate system, which takes a picture of a car’s license plate and sends a bill to the owner of the vehicle.
Many rental car companies in Florida will factor in the price of tolls into the rental agreement, so make sure to ask your car rental company how tolls are billed to customers, and don’t forget to consider the cost of tolls when pricing out your trip.
2. Know Where to Get Help
The Florida Highway Patrol is there to help drivers who have trouble on state highways. You can always dial 911 on any phone in an emergency, but the FHP also has a special number for help on its roads. You can dial *FHP on your cellphone to get directly through. The Florida 511 website has also been set up to help you get information about construction and traffic delays in the area so you can plan ahead.
3. Use Seatbelts
Florida law requires that all drivers and passengers wear a seatbelt. This law varies by state and country, so you may not be in the habit of wearing a seatbelt. However, it's vital to your safety, especially for children under 16 years old, so make sure everyone in the family buckles up.
Children who are younger than 4 or under 40 pounds must also be in an approved car seat. If you didn't bring one on your trip, ask your rental car company about getting one from them.
4. Know the Driving Rules
Whether you're from another state or another country, you may not be familiar with all the driving rules in the state of Florida. You can download a free copy of the rules of the road in the Sunshine State at the website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In it, you'll find information on things like when you can turn right on a red light, who has the right of way, and when you must yield to emergency vehicles.
5. Prepare for Traffic
Florida is a popular tourist and business destination. So, you'll need to practice a little extra patience on the road. You can minimize traffic inconveniences by avoiding many routes during peak driving hours in cities — usually between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 and 6:00 pm.
In addition, take the time to plan out a route that avoids downtown areas and popular tourist venues, like Disney World, unless they are your destination. If you can't avoid the traffic, come up with ways to stay entertained — like playing car games with your kids.
If you plan ahead with these few tips, you'll be more than ready to take on the Florida road network and show yourself around the state. The result will be a more enjoyable trip and no time wasted on the less important aspects of your time in our state. For more information on renting a car and getting around Florida, talk with the travel pros at Guardian Rent A Car in Pensacola today.