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November 2016
 
In this Issue
Drowsy Driving Threatens Millions of Motorists | Add 511 to Your Thanksgiving Travel Plans | Holiday Travel Tips, Tricks and Myths | Thank you, Florida 511! | Upcoming Florida Events | 511 Photo of the Month
 
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Drowsy Driving Threatens Millions of Motorists
Don’t Let a Crash Be Your Wake-Up Call
to Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Drivers in holiday traffic face special challenges – crowded highways, motorists hurrying to their destinations and travelers navigating unfamiliar roads.

Those troubles only worsen with the ongoing problem of drowsy drivers – a danger that grows when people stay up late to finish work or prepare food for holiday gatherings before hitting the road.

Nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived drivers are on America’s roads every day, according to a recently released report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a national highway safety organization. The report estimates drowsy driving contributed to 5,000 deaths and more than 300,000 crashes last year.

The Florida 511 Traveler Information System can help with part of your Thanksgiving worries by providing updates on roadways, alternate routes in the event of congestion and turn-by-turn directions. Those who know traffic conditions before they go can take another route or delay getting into the car, so they don’t sit in traffic growing drowsy or angry.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which operates the Florida 511 Traveler Information System, also recognizes the dangers of this problem by supporting Florida’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and recommending the following:

Check Box Do not consume alcohol and avoid medications that cause drowsiness.
Check Box Get a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) before driving.
Check Box Take a companion on long trips – someone to share the driving and help keep you awake.
Check Box Schedule regular breaks, about every 100 miles or every couple of hours.
Check Box Check out Florida’s network of rest areas, service plazas, truck comfort stations and welcome centers.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Steven Montiero warns about the effects of drowsy driving. “Your reaction times are down,” he said. “You need to make sure you’re fully rested when you’re operating a vehicle.”

The GHSA report notes that drowsy driving may be implicated in 20 percent of all fatal crashes. The author of the report, Pam Fischer, said skimping on sleep is a dangerous habit. “Our mental and physical health also suffers.”

So don’t let a crash be your wake-up call to the dangers of drowsy driving.

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Add 511 to Your Thanksgiving Travel Plans
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The week of Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Fortunately, the new Florida 511 Traveler Information System is here to help! With the new app, website and phone system, Florida 511 will help you arrive safely and on time to share that Thanksgiving feast.

The free, user-friendly Apple and Android mobile app is like having a traffic reporter in your pocket. You can enter your destination and receive up to three routes, each with estimated travel times. It also lets you know before you go about crashes, construction and congestion in your local area and around the state. With the app’s all-in-one functionality, checking the website, Twitter feeds, partner agency links and using the 511 phone system are just one click away.

Customize your information by signing up for the My Florida 511 personalized services. If you’re heading out of town this Thanksgiving, let 511 update you via email or text on travel times, traffic speed decreases, crashes, construction and closures. You have the power to set these alerts for the days and times of your choosing. By signing up for Emergency Alerts, 511 will keep you updated on major issues impacting large portions of the state including major road closures, weather warnings and AMBER Alerts.

Happy Thanksgiving and know before you go! Keep Florida moving with the new 511!


Holiday Travel Tips, Tricks and Myths
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Although always important, safety becomes crucial when holiday travelers crowd the highways. While many motorists think they know what to do in every roadway emergency or incident, misconceptions persist. Below are a few travel-related Q-and-A’s to help inform and educate.

Q: Who do I call to report a non-emergency incident on the road?

A: To report road debris, a non-emergency crash, aggressive driver, drunk driver or to summon a Road Ranger, you can dial *347 or *FHP. Motorists who dial *FHP from their cell phones will connect to the nearest Florida Highway Patrol communications center free of charge, courtesy of participating Florida cellular phone companies. For an emergency, call 911.

Q: Should I turn on my hazard lights when it’s raining?

A: No. Hazard lights actually can reduce visibility and cause other drivers to think you are stopped or stalled. The flashing lights also make it difficult for drivers to tell if motorists ahead are tapping their brakes. Hazard lights also block your vehicle’s ability to use turn signals, so they should flash only while your vehicle is stopped or disabled on the roadway or shoulder.

Q: What should I do during a tire blowout?

A: AAA advises keeping a firm grip on the wheel. Do not brake. Braking may cause you to skid and lose control. While you’re trying to regain control of your car, maintain your speed if you can. Stay in your lane until you’re ready to start to pull over. When it is safe, pull over to the side of the road, apply your parking brake and exit the vehicle. Now you can turn on your emergency lights and check your spare tire. If you know how to change the tire, do so with caution. If not, call for roadside assistance.

For more information about driving safety, check out A Safer Florida through Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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Thank you, Florida 511!
See what some Florida 511 users have to say about us:

   
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  "Thanks Florida 511 for being a great resource for hurricane info. Everyone should check it out."

 
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  Chantal (Jacksonville)
 
   
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  "Florida 511 traffic cameras are very helpful during Hurricane Matthew. Thankful and highly recommend."

 
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  Vanessa (Lakeland)
 
   
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  "Thanks Florida 511 for helping me avoid traffic on the way home from work."

 
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  Rick (Tallahassee)
 
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Florida Events in November

November is the beginning of the holiday season and with that brings numerous events to the Sunshine State that attracts both Floridians and out of state tourists.

So, if you’re hitting the road this month check out some of our featured events throughout the state and make sure to visit FL511.com before you head out. It’s better to know before you go, to arrive safely and on time.

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Nov 7–Dec 22
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2016 (Orlando)
Walt Disney World and Magic Kingdom are kicking off the holiday season this November with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. From November 9 to December 22 guests can meet Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the crew. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus as he makes an appearance at the Most Magical Place on Earth. The event requires a separate ticket for admission along with a valid Walt Disney World park admission.
 
Nov 29
54th Annual Christmas on Las Olas (Fort Lauderdale)
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland this holiday season head over to the famous “Christmas on Las Olas” in downtown Fort Lauderdale on November 29 from 5 to 10 p.m. The south Florida tradition will celebrate its 54th year with a snow mountain, perfect for sledding, an ice skating rink and performances by local school choirs. The event is free and open to the public.
 
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