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Florida 511 May 2019

Share the road safely in May and year-round

For many, riding a motorcycle can be fun and exhilarating, as they motor down the highway. As we observe Motorcycle Awareness Month in May, all travelers are encouraged to be alert and take precautions when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Both drivers and motorcyclists need to be aware of their surroundings and ensure that they check blind spots and mirrors, as well as use their turn signals when changing lanes and passing.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) not only wants motorists to arrive safely to their destinations, but to also use the Florida 511 (FL511) Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) to be equipped with the best traffic and travel information. FL511 is the state’s official source for traffic and travel information. It provides current road and travel conditions in Florida, so drivers can make choices about their travel plans. The service includes a website in English and Spanish, FL511 Mobile App, Twitter messages, text alerts, and more. FL511 also provides camera views on major Florida roads, so motorists can see road conditions throughout the state. The goal is to increase driving safety and reduce travel time. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will arrive more safely and with less time on the road! This will help everyone to Connect. Know. Go and travel smart.

Prepare for the hurricane season this month

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is almost upon us. It starts on June 1 and lasts for six months, ending on November 30. It only takes one hurricane or tropical storm to wreak havoc on Floridians’ lives. 

May 5 to 11 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The purpose of this week is to raise awareness of the need to prepare. Everyone in Florida should prepare. This includes developing a plan for you and your family; stocking up on canned goods, water and other essentials; removing loose tree branches near your house; and taking many other steps to prepare for a storm.

Of course, it is important to know if you will need to evacuate. Those living in a coastal evacuation area, other flood-prone area, or a mobile home should make plans to evacuate to a safe shelter. Some people may choose to stay in a local shelter; others may choose go elsewhere in the state or leave Florida altogether. 

If you think you may need to evacuate, it is a good idea to develop your evacuation plan now and include FL511 in that plan. This plan should include where you expect to go and stay during the storm. Most evacuees will drive. Evacuees must plan on leaving days before any storm hits. The FL511 website can help before you leave by showing road conditions and providing travel alerts from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Once on the road, a passenger in the car can use the FL511 Mobile App to check conditions while driving. Both the mobile app and website give real-time travel reports on all Florida interstate highways and toll roads, including Florida’s Turnpike, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority roads and Central Florida Expressway Authority roads; and other major metropolitan roadways.

Travelers can follow FL511 on 13 Twitter handles, on Facebook @FL511, and Instagram @Florida_511. For more information, visit the website at FL511.com. Travel smart with FL511, to Connect. Know. Go.

Use FL511 to plan your Memorial Day trip

Memorial Day is almost upon us. The three-day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Last year, AAA estimated that more than 41.5 million Americans would travel during the holiday weekend in 2018. By far, the vast majority use automobiles to travel, with an estimated 36 million expected to hit the road last Memorial Day, according to AAA.

Florida roads are busy too, of course. Orlando is a very popular Memorial Day destination, and many individuals or families will travel both within and outside the state.

Memorial Day is Monday, May 27. The holiday weekend is from May 25 to 27, with travel starting to increase on the Friday before the weekend.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) urges motorists to use the Florida 511 (FL511) Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) as part of their travel plans. Motorists should check the website before they leave home for road conditions, incidents, and travel messages from FDOT. Once on the road, passengers in the car can check the FL511 Mobile App, now featuring Drive Mode and voice interaction features, to get up-to-the minute, real-time traffic conditions and incident information for the State of Florida. Before returning home, check the website and app as well. The camera images also are helpful in seeing snapshot road conditions near home, or hundreds of miles away in a different area of Florida. The FL511 Mobile App is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

FL511 can help holiday travelers arrive more safely and with less time on the road!

Florida Events in May

There are many festivals and sports events in the state in May, and FDOT encourage
drivers to use FL511 to visit these or many others:

SunFest (West Palm Beach)

May 2-5, 2019

Founded in 1982, SunFest is Florida’s largest waterfront music and art festival. SunFest attracts more than 130,000 visitors annually. It takes place in downtown West Palm Beach along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, in the city’s arts and entertainment district. 

Tampa Riverfest (Tampa)

May 3-4, 2019

The fifth annual Tampa Riverfest is a free community event on Tampa’s waterfront. The event includes music, food and beverage vendors, a blessing of the fleet, Hillsborough County School student performances, and much more. Many of the venues, museums, bars, and restaurants along the Riverwalk will feature special activities also.

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (Fernandina Beach)

May 3-5, 2019

This 56th annual shrimp festival is held in one of Florida’s most productive shrimp regions. The festival features a pirate parade, exhibits, arts and crafts, antiques, games, contests, seafood and live music along the Amelia River in downtown Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island.

Hibiscus Festival (Punta Gorda)

May 3-5, 2019

The 15th annual Hibiscus Festival celebrates the unique history and character of Punta Gorda, and its connection one of the world’s most renowned hybridizers, Harry R. Goulding. Each May, a small group carries on the tradition with a festival honoring the “king of hibiscus” and the beloved city. 

St. Johns River Festivalof the Arts (Sanford)

May 4-5, 2019

The brick streets of historic downtown Sanford will be transformed into an artist mecca for this 8th annual festival, featuring some of the country’s best artwork. The festival offers the opportunity to purchase beautiful art, see demonstrations, participate in workshops, and enjoy delicious food and music. 

Key West Songwriters Festival (Key West)

May 8-12, 2019

The 24th annual Key West Songwriters Festival is considered the largest event of its kind. Attendees experience the faces, voices and stories behind the songs, while enjoying musical entertainment. It is held in some of the most popular venues on the island. 

Monster Jam World Finals XX (Orlando)

May 10-11, 2019

Seven world finale champions will be crowned at the Monster Jam World Finals XX at Camping World Stadium. The two-day monster truck event features high jump, two-wheel skills, ATV racing, speedster racing and a speedster obstacle course. This is a high-octane event for those who love excitement on four wheels!

Tupelo Honey Festival (Wewahitchka)

May 18, 2019

Farmers from the area offer top-notch local honey in a variety of sizes and packages under moss-draped oaks around Lake Alice. This small-town festival also features food vendors, art and crafts, live music and, of course, the Miss Tupelo Honey Queen. Wewahitchka is located in Gulf County in Florida’s Panhandle. 

Florida Folk Festival (White Springs)

May 24-26, 2019

This 67th annual event along the banks of the Suwannee River is a Florida tradition. It features the music, dance, stories and crafts which make the state unique. More than 300 performances will take place over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

FL511 Photo of the Month

In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Florida Turnpike Enterprise and their partners conducted an outreach event at the Ft. Pierce/Port St. Lucie Turnpike Plaza on April 18th.

Ricardo ReyesFlorida 511 May 2019