Driving Safely In The New Year

By: Sheriff Carmine Marceno

The holidays have passed and we begin a new year here in Lee County. While Santa has returned to the North Pole, the seasonal congestion that we experience here in Southwest Florida remains.

Lee County, as a rule, experiences an approximate population increase of 22 percent during season. This equates to a significant increase in the number of vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians on our streets and roadways. Some of the drivers here during the winter season are unfamiliar with our roadways and with recently updated traffic patterns. Roadways are a bit more congested and our children return to school following the holiday break. These variables require that drivers and pedestrians remain focused while out and about.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, in an effort to reduce traffic-related incidents, remind drivers to obey speed limits, comply with traffic signals and to maintain distance between vehicles.

A significant percentage of vehicular collisions occur as a result of tailgating and failure to maintain an adequate distance between ourselves and the car or truck ahead of us. Ensure that you are maintaining a full three-second distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Additionally, wet roadways require additional stopping distance, especially at highway speeds.

Should you be operating a heavily-weighted vehicle or towing a trailer/camper, recognize that significantly more time is required to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. Should the car or truck behind you be following at an unsafe distance, please attempt to change lanes and allow that individual to pass. Avoid speeding up or intentionally slowing in response to the tailgater. Avoid partaking in road-rage incidents. This is a difficult time of year for many. There is an element of stress returning to work after the holiday season and the additional traffic adds to our frustration. It is important, however, to do whatever is necessary to avoid aggressive interaction with other drivers.

As mentioned, students are returning to school, bus stops will once again have children present and school buses will be making frequent stops to pick up and discharge passengers. Please exercise extreme caution!

Let’s begin the new year safely, with consideration for others, and make 2024 an awesome year here in Lee County.

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