A record number of visitors came to Florida last year. The state set records. So did Lee County and Collier County.

Nearly 100 million people came to enjoy the sunshine, beaches and warm temperatures in 2014. That’s a 4% increase over the previous year. Lee County had saw 3 million visitors, a 12 percent increase. Tourists spent $2 billion. Collier County had 1.8 million visitors,  a 6 percent increase. Tourists spent $1.8 billion. The growth is good for the economy. The News-Press reported that the state Department of Economic Opportunity estimates that of the 9.1 million people employed in Florida, 1.1 million have jobs tied to the tourism industry. Tourism employs 1 in 5 people in Lee County, according to the visitor bureau. The majority of Florida’s 2014 visitors came through domestic travel, with Visit Florida giving a ballpark figure of 11.5 million for those traveling from overseas. Another 3.8 million were from Canada.

With the increase in visitors and economic growth, comes traffic growth. You may have noticed the roadways a little more crowded and you have probably spotted all the license plates from Indiana, Ohio, New York, etc. This time of year the Southwest Florida population swells — from Fort Myers to Cape Coral in addition to the beaches of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel. The roadways become packed with people from other states, and other countries, trying to get around. It’s a fact of Southwest Florida Life. Here are some tips to hep you deal with the traffic:

  • Be patient. This is probably the biggest tip we can give you. You will spend more time sitting in traffic and stopped at traffic lights than you have the previous months but you have to be patient. Staying calm can help reduce your stress level and help avoid road rage.
  • Leave early. Plan extra travel time. It will take you a little longer to get to your destination so leave a little earlier so you aren’t hurrying to get there.
  • Anticipate. Drivers are from other states and other countries so they may not be familiar with the area. Leave a little extra room between vehicles and try to anticipate what a driver may do.
  • Obey the law. You can do your part to reduce traffic crashes by following the speed limit and posted signs.

If you find yourself the victim of a crash, we understand what you are going through and may be able to help. At Bernardo Injury Law, we know how serious accidents can impact so many lives. If we can help you, contact us at (239) 332-3000 or toll free at 888-428-8943, email us at gethelp@injuryinfo.org. You can learn more on our website at injuryinfo.org.