Miamians have their own version of the DMV handbook. Between the speeding, hit-and-runs, honking, and lack of turn signals, driving in Miami-Dade County should come with a warning sign.
A study published this week by an insurance website called QuoteWizard attempted to pull a magical illusion on us all by saying Miami drivers are some of the best in the nation.
So in the interest of fact-checking QuoteWizard, here are five reasons why Miami drivers are actually the worst:
For the past eight years, Miamians have ranked as one of the most stressed-out populations in America. And being trapped in an overpopulated city without adequate public transportation doesn't help. Metrorail sucks so bad it's referred to as "Metrofail," and somehow we still haven't figured out a way to build a train across the bay to South Beach.
So we sit in traffic, we scream, we honk our horns into the sky, and we complain loud and often enough to rank as the second-most stressed-out driving community in the United States, according to a study released last week by a job-recruiting website. In time for Halloween, the company looked at which city has the "spookiest" commutes by measuring commute time and relative driving stress. Though it's unclear how that makes anyone's drive "spooky," few Miami drivers would dispute the data.
According to the report, Miamians don't quite have the longest average commutes (that honor goes to those living in D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago), but we really hate our rides to and from work with particularly fiery passion. (This might be due to our unique ability to complain about literally everything around us at all times, but also it really, really sucks to drive in Miami.)
The New York Times, the paper of record with a combined 114 Pulitzer Prizes, has really outdone itself with its latest shocker. It's the kind of in-depth investigation that could change the course of American politics forever. They've found that Marco Rubio and his wife Jeanette have — gasp — gotten more than a few traffic tickets while driving in Miami! That's an especially surprising revelation considering that Miami is widely known as the world's mecca of good driving!
Reporters Alan Rappeport and Steve Ederb (yes, this is clearly the kind of complicated story that required the manpower of two reporters, and please note that Kitty Bennett is credited with contributing as well) found that since 1997, Marco Rubio has been cited for 4 traffic infractions. His wife has received 13.
Rubio's first ticket was in 1997 when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper cited him for reckless driving. He's also received a ticket for speeding in Duval County, a red light camera ticket and one for failing to stop at a stop sign. Ms. Rubio's driving record includes numerous stop for speeding (including once in a school zone) and her license faced suspension on three occasions (though its unclear if it ever was actually suspended).
Over the past year, Yglesias compiled snippets of the scariest moments he'd experienced behind the wheel — the best of the worst, if you will. He set them to Pitbull's "Welcome to Miami" and pieced together the highlights: a school bus nearly rear-ending a car, a driver making a left turn from the right lane, a city bus completely cutting him off.
They're all ordinary bits of awful driving that most Miamians are used to — but seeing them all compiled with a soundtrack hammers home just how ridiculously bad driving in the 305 can be.
"I think it's cool to show all the infractions on the road," Yglesias says.
Right before hanging up with New Times, Yglesias remembers a final point he needs to make.
"One more thing: People need to start using their turn signals," he says. "Nobody in this city seems to know what the turn signals are for."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The day before Father's Day 2017, Ramon Bueno was driving through an intersection when a Miami Police cruiser driven by Officer Lucas Rodrigues blew through a red light and slammed into the driver's-side door of Bueno's car. The impact was so powerful the two cars spun out of control and crashed into another vehicle stopped at the light. Bueno, age 71, was hurried to the hospital in critical condition. He later died.
According to the lawsuit, the crash happened in the early-morning hours of June 17, 2017, as Bueno drove his Honda Civic west on SW Seventh Street through the intersection with SW 12th Street. The traffic light was a solid green. Rodrigues was driving his marked patrol car north on SW 12th Avenue.
Pre-crash data shows the cop was accelerating as he approached the red light. In the seconds before he hit Bueno, he was going 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. Rodrigues took his foot off the gas in the split second before he hit Bueno, but the data shows he was still speeding at 56 mph when he plowed into Bueno.
"The impact speed proved catastrophic," the lawsuit says.
Despite the fact he was speeding and ran a red light, the officer wasn't charged with a crime.
Florida, as a state, is so poorly planned and designed that simply walking around city streets is legitimately dangerous. Cars clip pedestrians all the time — every year, the state has ranked either first or near the top when it comes to the number of people run over by cars.
And according to newly released government data, 2017 was no different. Preliminary figures released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) last week show that, by virtually every measure, Florida was an awful state for pedestrians through the first half of last year. When it comes to total pedestrian deaths, Florida ranked number two overall. The state is also fifth worst when the rankings were adjusted for population.
The total number of Floridians hit by cars actually increased during that period from 2016 to 2017: Two hundred ninety-nine pedestrians were run over from January through June of 2016, compared to 303 the following year. That figure ranked behind only California's 352 deaths despite the fact that the Golden State's population is nearly twice that of the Sunshine State.