Statistically speaking, Jacksonville drivers don’t seem that bad. Many residents would likely be surprised to learn that our drivers ranked 45th out of 200 cities on the America’s Best Drivers Report.
However, when driving in rush-hour traffic that moves an inch at a time, those statistics offer very little comfort.
The main reason for our great driving scores is the relatively low number of traffic accidents. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of bad driving going on – it just means we’ve all learned to adapt.
Here’s our collection of bad habits that Jacksonville drivers tend to exhibit – and keep in mind, many of these can apply to other similarly-sized cities as well. We left off the most obvious one, but we’ll go ahead and mention it just in case: don’t text and drive.
If you do any of these things, maybe consider switching up your driving habits!
Not Using Turn Signals
Florida drivers have become somewhat infamous for not using turn signals – especially when switching lanes. Jacksonville drivers are certainly no exception.
Some drivers are under the impression that turn signals are not important. After all, you know where you’re headed, so why would anyone else need to know?
Well, because the driver in the lane next to you may be about to speed up, and they’re counting on you to not suddenly swerve in front of them since your turn signal isn’t on.
If you decide to do it anyway, you could send them right into your rear bumper – or worse, they could lose control of their car trying to adjust to your sudden movement and end up swerving off the road or into oncoming traffic.
You may have thought it was obvious that you were switching lanes, but are you ready to risk major damage to your car – or to another person’s life?
(BTW, motorcyclists, you aren’t exempt from turn signals just because you can weave faster, or because your bike doesn’t have physical turn signals. Hand signaling is just as necessary, and the failure to signal causes accidents that are easily avoidable.)
So whether you think it’s necessary or not, just use your damn turn signal!
Left Lane Hogging
Speaking of issues involving switching lanes…
Many Jax drivers tend to favor traveling in the left lane. They do so even if they also favor traveling below the speed limit, often infuriating the growing line of drivers stuck behind them.
In theory, the left lane is only supposed to be used for passing other vehicles. In practice, it’s generally accepted to use the left lane for travelling, but it’s assumed that if someone is coming up behind you at a faster speed, you’ll then shift over to the right.
Many drivers in Jacksonville – particularly older ones – seem to struggle with being aware of drivers behind them. And some are aware of them, but simply don’t care.
It’s become such a prevalent issue in Florida that a law was created to target slow drivers who camp out in the left lane.
All this does is back up traffic and generate road rage. If you see someone behind you trying to get past you, it doesn’t mean you need to speed up. Just move out of the way!
DRIVING IN RAIN
For a city that gets so much rainfall each year, Jacksonville drivers tend to act like they’ve never seen it before.
We’ve actually already covered this issue before, with the biggest issues we identified being the (illegal) use of hazard lights and the tendency to panic and do things like slow to a crawl or swerve off the road.
Driving in heavy rain can be legitimately scary, and we don’t mean to shame anyone who feels anxiety in this situation. It’s just important to remember that panicking behind the wheel can be a recipe for disaster.
The best decision in these situations is to slowly and carefully pull over and wait until the rain slows down.
While Jax may not have a whole lot of accidents compared to other big cities, the accidents we do have tend to throw off traffic for hours.
It’s not an uncommon occurrence for traffic to go from entirely stagnant to completely free-flowing after passing by the scene of an accident. Why is this?
Well, it’s because every single person at the front of the line is stopping to look at what happened.
For some reason, people are fascinated by car accidents. This isn’t just a Jacksonville thing; a study from Virginia Commonwealth University named rubbernecking as the leading cause of car accidents in the U.S.
Yes, that’s right: looking at one accident that happened can cause even more accidents. As drivers stare down the wreckage, they ignore what’s happening on the road around them. They may not have noticed that the car in front of them has slowed down, or that they’re veering into the lane next to them.
What results, even if there’s no second accident, is a massive pile-up.
Rubbernecking doesn’t have to involve an accident, though; it can be people looking around at anything that isn’t the road while driving.
Don’t get us wrong, you should always slow down to a certain extent if you’re passing an active accident scene, so as to not endanger law enforcement or emergency workers. But slowing down doesn’t mean slowing to a crawl, and it doesn’t mean it’s okay to stop watching the road either.
Obviously these are issues that all drivers have, but a couple of these problems are particularly prevalent among Jax drivers.
If we could all learn to avoid these bad driving habits, we could make each other’s weekday commutes much more enjoyable!