The Snowbirds Are Back!

Sudden slowdowns. Confused drivers. An influx of Canadian license plates. If you’re a longtime Floridian, you know this can only mean one thing—the snowbirds are back in town!

They’re Here!

“Snowbird” is a common slang term for people who migrate to warmer temperatures during the winter months. Typically from Canada or the northeast or midwest regions of the United States, snowbirds flee the cold, brutal winter in exchange for the more temperate, relaxing climate of places like Florida, Arizona, Texas, and even the Caribbean. They typically spend a few months in the warmer area, then travel back north at the end of the winter. Some have homes in the warmer area and might even declare permanent residency, while many others travel by recreational vehicle (RV) and set up a temporary home at a snowbird-friendly RV park.

Most snowbirds are retirees, who can travel for longer periods of time without having to worry about holding down a job. Snowbirds can also include people who work in seasonal industries and people who seek out warmer weather for health reasons, like to cope with seasonal affective disorder. Whatever the reason, we can’t exactly blame people for coming to Florida during the winter. Who doesn’t want to trade snow and wind for beaches and palm trees?

Are Snowbirds Bad Drivers?

Still, the arrival of snowbirds can lead to problems on the roads. Though plenty of annoyed Floridians might disagree, the issue is not that snowbirds are inherently bad drivers. Most of them are responsible, safe drivers on the roads, and are not any more dangerous than a native Floridian. After all, many snowbirds have been traveling south for many years, and know our roads just as well as we do!

However, because they might be unaccustomed to local traffic, snowbirds may drive slower and exhibit disoriented behavior, like sudden braking. In some cases, snowbirds might not be familiar with certain roads or American roadway signage, leading to issues like wrong-way driving. Since snowbirds tend to be older, issues like vision problems, reduced reaction time, or memory loss can also play a role.

Driving Tips for Everyone

To cope with snowbirds, Floridians should make sure they are on their best driving behavior. This includes staying alert and aware at all times—no texting behind the wheel or drunk driving!—so they can be aware of any obstacles on the roads, like a car in front of them that suddenly slows down. Floridians should also remember to be patient with other drivers, whether they’re snowbirds or not. Impatient or reckless behavior might get you to your destination faster, but it puts others at risk.

Snowbirds can also take a few steps to make sure they are ready for their winter travels. Before heading south, snowbirds should:

  • Get their vision and hearing tested
  • Have a talk with family members or their doctor about any concerns about their driving ability
  • Familiarize themselves with the area where they will be staying during the winter
  • Read up on local traffic laws

Florida “winters” are pretty perfect, and everyone should be able to enjoy the pleasant weather! Whether you’re a snowbird or a local, be safe on the roads.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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