Use FL511 to Plan Your Memorial Day Trip
Memorial Day weekend is the official start of the summer vacation season, and is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. In 2017, 39 million Americans, including 2 million Floridians, hit the road for a trip of 50 miles or longer. By far, people prefer to drive than fly on this weekend.
Memorial Day is observed on Monday, May 28, 2018. It is a federal holiday which recognizes those who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the United States armed forces. It is one of the most important federal holidays, as well as the most solemn. There are Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the country, as well as concerts, televised programs, and many other events. May 25 through May 28 is the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend this year. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) urges motorists to drive carefully on this weekend. Roads will be crowded. FDOT also suggests drivers use the Florida 511 Traveler Information System to check road conditions in advance on the website, choose the best from three routes provided, and use the app in the vehicle if there is a second passenger. Florida 511 can help make your Memorial Day travel plans saver and easier!
Florida 511 Can Make the Ride Safer for
May is beautiful. Spring is in full bloom. The weather is great. And, bikers want to hit the open road. Because there are so many motorcycles on the road in May, it is also National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Many organizations and governments use this time as an opportunity to raise awareness about safety issues.
Here are a few sad facts:
Motorcyclists account for 3% of registered vehicles on the road and 14% of the fatal accidents. One-third of motorcycle accidents were alcohol-impaired. Thirty percent were related to speed. Most accidents, though, are caused by the other person – the driver who does not see the motorcyclist and violates their right of way. The National Safety Council has a few more statistics.
There are ways a motorcyclist can improve the safety of their journey and that of their passenger – largely through skill and gear. Here are these and a few other tips from the US Department of Transportation.
The Florida Department of Transportation has another suggestion: Motorcyclists should use Florida 511 before the trip. The website will let riders know the weather conditions, road conditions, and other factors affecting safety before they rev up their machine. Know before you go!
The FDOT also reminds all drivers to please be mindful of motorcycles on the road and drive defensively to reduce accidents and save lives!
Florida 511 May Help Teen Drivers
Perhaps one of a parent’s biggest nightmares is the day their teen gets a driver’s license and heads off on the road. No matter how much training, education and parental advice is provided, it is a scary time.
Teens are at greatest risk for an accident. According to the Center for Disease Control, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. For these facts and more info, please visit the CDC website.
In an effort to improve teen driving, May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month. The goal is to share information with teens about concrete steps they can take to drive safely. The Allstate Foundation is one of many organizations with such a program.
The Florida Department of Transportation supports all efforts to improve the safety of youth driving. A current theme today is reducing texting and use of all other electronic devices which distract. The Florida 511 Traveler Information System can do its small part. Parents can encourage teens to check the FL511 website before leaving on a trip for any possible hazards (severe weather, congestion, incidents); and then have a passenger use the app once on the road, if needed. Teen drivers can also use it while parked off the road, but not when driving. To learn more, please visit FL511.com.
Honor Your Mother with a Special Outing
On a more lighthearted note, Mother’s Day is just around the corner! This most wonderful holiday is to honor our mothers (or mother figures or just motherhood in general) with a special day, which is May 13 this year. Most Moms get a dinner out, courtesy of their families. Other ways of celebrating include cards, flowers, gifts, phone calls, and any gesture of kindness to let mothers know how much they are appreciated.
Florida 511 would like to suggest finding a fun and different restaurant or place to take Mom on her special day. Mother’s Day is always on a Sunday, one of the best driving days of the week. Surprise her with a special outing, and let Florida 511 help make the drive safer and more efficient!
Florida Events in May
May is a beautiful month in Florida. The days are still mild and often rain-free.
There are many varied events. Let Florida 511 help guide you to an event of your choosing:
The Hibiscus Festival (Punta Gorda)
May 4-6, 2018
The 14th Annual Hibiscus Festival celebrates the unique history and character of Punta Gorda, its connection to the hibiscus, and one of the world’s most renowned hybridizers, Harry R. Goulding. Plants, plants and more plants are featured, along with craft and food vendors and live music! This festival benefits the Charlotte County Historical Center Society.
The Forgotten Coast en Plein Air: America’s Great Paint-Out
(Apalachicola, Cape San Blas, Carrabelle, East Point, George Island, Mexico City, Port St. Joe)
May 4-13, 2018
Now in the 13th year of documenting the landscape and culture of the last vestige of authentic “Old Florida,” Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, America’s Great Paint-Out is among the world’s most prestigious plein air events. The 10-day festival includes 20 internationally acclaimed artists, six Florida artists, exhibits, guest speakers, and surprises!
The Players Championship at Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach)
May 8-13, 2018
The Players Championship is one of the PGA Tour’s most coveted titles. Jack Nicholas won the inaugural event in Atlanta in 1974, and remains the only three-time winner of The Players. The championship moved to Sawgrass in 1982 and has been there since. It is sure to draw the most acclaimed golfers today.
Key West Songwriters Festival (Key West)
May 9-13, 2018
Celebrating its 23rd year, the Key West Songwriters Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the world. The festival revolves around five days and nights where live music bliss introduces crowds to the faces, voices and stories behind the songs.
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival (Orlando)
May 15-28, 2018
The 27th Annual Orlando Fringe Theatre Festival is a celebration of theatrical and performing arts. Frequently referred to as “the premier springtime cultural event in Central Florida,” the festival encompasses roughly 500 uncensored and non-juried performances each year, a lively outdoor stage and beer tent, visual fringe and kid’s fringe!
Stuart Sailfish Regatta (Stuart)
May 19-20, 2018
The 6th Annual Stuart Sailfish Regatta is an exciting weekend with hydroplanes, race boats and powerboats competing for prize money and bragging rights. The race is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association. Activities include live music, kid zones, a swimsuit contest and a spectator viewing area on the Stuart Causeway.
Florida Folk Festival (White Springs)
May 25-27, 2018
The Florida Folk Festival is held annually on Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the historic Suwannee River at Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park in White Springs, and is ranked among the top 20 festivals in the southeast. It celebrates the music, dance, stories, crafts and food that make Florida unique.
Country 500 (Daytona Beach)
May 25-27, 2018
The Country 500 festival returns for a third year with some of the biggest stars in country music spread over a three-day and night weekend extravaganza. The festival takes place inside the hallowed grounds of one of the most iconic motorsports venues in America, as the infield of the famous Daytona International Speedway transforms into the site of world-class music and fun.
FL511 Photo of the Month
Attendees at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando in March visit the FL511 exhibit and sign up for a newsletter. A FL511 outreach team member shares information about the mobile app.