Florida New Resident Guide – 5 Tips

Greetings From Fort Lauderdale

You’ve finally made the move to Florida! Welcome to the state with the 4th fastest growing population. While you may have spent months or even years planning your move, there are certain things you won’t be able to plan for unless someone who lives here gives you those tips.

Here are 5 Tips for all new Florida residents that can make your new life here easier:

1) Keep a Beach bag in the trunk – Always have a bag ready for the beach or a pool swim. Bathing suit, towel, sun block, are all essential. If you’re a beach lover, you never know when the opportunity grab a quick hour in the sun will present itself.

2) Take Hurricane Warnings Seriously – Each storm is different. Take precautions and leave early if recommended. Even a small storm can create widespread damage with loss of power and water for days or weeks. Prepare a “Hurricane Kit” with items and supplies to take with  you whether you’re forced to evacuate or stay home. Do NOT wait until the last minute, as store shelves will be empty. Prepare your kit at the end of May every year. It should be organized in one or more bags that you can easily take with you. At minimum, your kit should include:

  • CASH
  • Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
  • Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
  • Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
  • Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
  • Waterproof container with cash and important documents
  • Manual can opener
  • Lighter or matches
  • Books, magazines, games for recreation
  • Blankets, pillows
  • Clothing
  • Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies if applicable
  • Cooler and ice packs
  • Disposable plates, cups, & utensils
  • Moisture wips
  • Small tool kit
  • Pet care items
  • A plan for evacuation and for if family members are separated

A complete guide is available from the State of Florida Division of Emergency Management.

3) Get used to train crossings & bridge openings – There are 2 train tracks east of I-95.  The tracks closer to I-95 run Amtrak, TriRail and occasional freight trains.  The tracks on the east side that runs next to Dixie highway has freight and Brightline commuter trains, which currently has 22 northbound and southbound runs. All trains are currently required to blow their horns. Quiet zone crosssings are planned, limiting the horn blow. A welcome change I can tell you.

Bridges on the intracoastal waterway open every half hour and sometimes on demand. There are restrictions for morning and evening rush hour on most. If you live or work on the beach, you’ll need to learn your route’s bridge schedule to avoid traffic delays.

4) The Rules of the Road don’t apply here  – A drawback of the huge mixture of cultures in South Florida is that our roads are some of the most dangerous in the country. Everyone has their own rules. Blinkers are rarely used by most drivers, but please continue to use them as this simple act can reduce accidents greatly. At a stop light always look both ways before commencing when the light turns green. Typical left-lane speed on I-95 is 75-80 miles an hour, so if you’re not committed to those speeds, move over. If you’re like me, you’ll want to learn the easiest backroutes to the places you normally go to avoid the highways altogether.

If you do have an emergency on any Florida interstate,
dial *FHP from your phone for Florida Road Rangers.

5) Explore the Culture – Break out of your shell! Stray from your norms and explore all the various food and culture at your fingertips in South Florida. Get involved in your community and meet your neighbors. If you’re buying property, join your neighborhood association and attend board and condo meetings.