FL511 experiences record use during Hurricane Michael
The use of the Florida 511 Advanced Traveler Information System hit a record the day after Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle.
Hurricane Michael is the most powerful storm to hit the Florida Panhandle since records have been kept. The fast-moving storm made landfall on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 as a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. The eye crossed over the small coastal community of Mexico Beach, roared north through the Panhandle, and exited the state into Georgia. It then made its way through parts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia before heading out to the Atlantic. It left a path of death and destruction in its wake.
In preparation for Michael, the state of Florida ordered at least 120,000 people to evacuate areas of the Panhandle. Many others voluntarily decided to leave for fear of storm surge, high winds, torrential rain and loss of power.
Gov. Rick Scott urged Floridians to use FL511 to assist with their evacuation plans.
The numbers tell the story. FL511 experienced record use during Hurricane Michael. On Thursday, October 11th, the website broke its previous record for the day: 52,603 users logged onto the site that day. This number is a 2,099% increase from the same day last year. It is up approximately 1,575% compared to the average for the previous week. Website use peaked on October 11th at 10 a.m., with 6,818 visitors.
Other FL511 platforms experienced heavy use too: the iPhone app was up approximately 675% compared to the average for the previous week (October 1st to 7th). For the same time period, FL511 Android app use was up 590%; IVR (interactive voice response) was up 475% and Twitter was up 112%.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and state of Florida suggest Floridians may want to consider adding FL511 to their hurricane preparedness toolkits. Information provided on traffic, road conditions and severe weather help residents evacuate more safely and efficiently – often under great stress and when the roads are very crowded. FL511 helped Panhandle residents safely evacuate before Hurricane Michael, and determine when and how to return in its aftermath. For more information on the system, visit the website.
FDOT supports National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week
Nearly 30 percent of American drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, according to a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, and more than half said they have driven while drowsy.
Florida’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week was September 1st to 9th, 2018. When you snooze behind the wheel, everyone around you loses.
The state of Florida also supports National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week which is November 4th to 9th this year. There are many steps drivers can take to stay alert behind the wheel. This FDOT Drowsy Driving Campaign site shares a few.
Another tip is to use the Florida 511 Advanced Traveler Information System before your trip. Check the website for real-time traffic and severe weather conditions. FL511 can make the drive safer and less stressful. For more information, please visit FL511.com.
Let FL511 guide you to a Veterans Day event
Each November, America honors the veterans of America’s armed forces who have sacrificed so much to secure the freedoms and peace that we enjoy today in the United States. Veterans Day is a national holiday and always occurs on November 11th, which generally is regarded as the end of World War I. Because the holiday falls on a Sunday this year, Veterans Day is observed and celebrated on Monday, November 12th, which is a federal holiday.
Throughout the state of Florida, there will be parades, events and observances in honor of Veterans Day. Because it falls on a Sunday this year, there will be faith-based observances too.
FDOT and the FL511 team thank America’s veterans for their service. They also suggest Floridians consider participating in a local Veterans Day event, if inclined. If so, motorists may want to use the Florida 511 Advanced Traveler Information System for a safer and less stressful trip. It provides the most up-to-date information on traffic and travel conditions, especially on major roads and in larger metropolitan areas. For more information, please visit the FL511 website.
Drive safely this Thanksgiving holiday week
Thanksgiving is almost upon us! This is one of the most beloved holidays of the year, when families and friends gather for a uniquely American tradition. The holiday week has grown over the years to now include Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, and football games at both the college and professional levels.
Last year, the AAA estimated that 46 million people drove more than 50 miles from their home for travel related to the holiday. This year Thanksgiving Day is November 22nd. Expect roads to be busier from Wednesday, November 21st through Sunday, November 25th.
The Florida Department of Transportation and FL511 team ask Florida motorists to use extra caution when driving during the Thanksgiving holiday week. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a list of road safety tips which may be helpful.
FDOT and the FL511 team would like to add one more tip to this list: please use the Florida 511 Advanced Traveler Information System. FL511 provides real-time information on road and traffic conditions throughout Florida. Drivers can “know before you go,” during this often busy and hectic time. Whether driving locally or many miles from home, FL511 can make the motor trip safer and less stressful. To learn more, visit www.FL511.com.
Florida Events in November
Florida is a fun place to be in November, with many outdoor events from local fairs, to air shows, to football games, and huge car shows. Let FL511 guide you to one:
NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show (Pensacola)
November 2nd and 3rd, 2018
It’s pure aviation excitement as the Blue Angels return home for the Naval Air Station Pensacola Homecoming Air Show.
Volusia County Fair (DeLand)
November 1st to 11th, 2018
Founded in 1923, the fair provides a place for youth to learn and show their livestock products; and for residents of Volusia County to participate in art, photography, music, agriculture, horticulture, home and craft projects.
Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival (Florida / Alabama Gulf Coast)
November 8th to 18th, 2018
This 34th annual festival features more than 200 nationally acclaimed songwriters in venues along the Florida / Alabama Gulf Coast. The event is an opportunity for seasoned and aspiring songwriters and musicians to have their songs heard, and for the public to learn the stories behind the lyrics.
Ribfest (St. Petersburg)
November 9th to 11th, 2018
Rockin’ ribs and helpin’ kids! This fun-filled three-day charity fundraiser features some of the best barbeque ribs in the world and a variety of other food offerings. National touring artists and local talent play classic and southern rock and country hits.
Homosassa Arts, Crafts, & Seafood Festival (Old Homosassa)
November 10th to 11th, 2018
The 44th Annual Homosassa Arts, Crafts, & Seafood Festival is a fundraiser of the Homosassa Civic Club to support local organizations and events. The festival features a juried art show, crafts, entertainment, seafood and other tasty treats, and kids’ zone.
Miami Book Fair International (Miami)
November 11th to 18th, 2018
The books are coming! And the readers and writers will follow, as they do by the hundreds of thousands every year for the Miami Book Fair International, an eight-day literary party. It features great authors, high-profile celebrities, and a gigantic street fair.
NASCAR Ford Championship Weekend (Homestead)
November 16th to 18th, 2018
This is it, racing fans! There’s no more wiggle “vroom” as all three of NASCAR’s premier racing crowns are decided in one weekend – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World. You’ll see the best drivers in the world compete for the titles.
Florida Blue Florida Classic (Orlando)
November 17th, 2018
The nation’s largest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) rivalry features the Florida A&M Rattlers against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. Since its inception in 1978, the game has been seen by more than 1.5 million spectators. A highlight is the famous halftime show featuring the FAMU Marching 100 and the B-CU Marching Wildcats.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers (Jacksonville)
November 18th, 2018
Fall football continues with a game under the lights featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m.!
Daytona Turkey Run (Daytona Beach)
November 22nd to 25th, 2018
Get ready for the 45th Annual Daytona Turkey Run! The event is considered the nation’s largest combined car show and swap meet. This family-friendly event at Daytona International Speedway features a car show, car corral, swap meet and arts and fashion.
University of South Florida Bulls vs. the University of Central Florida Knights (Tampa)
November 23rd, 2018
It wouldn’t be the Friday after Thanksgiving without a football game. Watch two Florida teams meet up in Tampa, as the USF Bulls take on the UCF Knights. Time to be determined.
University of Miami Hurricanes vs. the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (Miami)
November 24th, 2018
Football continues over the Thanksgiving weekend with another great game, as the UM Hurricanes take on the University of Pittsburgh Panthers in Miami. Time to be determined.
FL511 Photo of the Month
A Florida 511 team member (left) shares a laugh with attendees at the ITS5C Summit in Jacksonville, Fla. from October 7th to 10th, 2018. The Intelligent Transportation Society hosted a regional summit to address the challenge of connecting cars, communities and citizens. FDOT and FL511 staff and team members attended, and FL511 was among many exhibitors.