FHP, FDOT Give Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

What to expect and what to avoid before you hit the roadways for the holiday

By Betty Yu
|  Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012  |  Updated 11:31 AM EDT
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Vehicles drive north on I-95 in Miami, Florida.

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Thanksgiving travel doesn't have to be a hassle if you know what to expect and what to avoid before you head out the door in South Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Transportation want motorists to take some tips to ensure their trips go smoothly.
 
"First check their vehicles for safety, check your lights, check your air pressure, make sure your vehicle's safe," FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky said. "Then I want everybody to get a lot of rest and make sure they're not out there driving drowsy."

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FHP says traffic congestion starts to build the Wednesday before Thanksgiving around 3 p.m. The backup in Broward County can be seen on 86 cameras at the DOT's Transportation Management Center in Fort Lauderdale. The roads are monitored 24 hours a day.

"The operators are actually viewing the cameras for any congestion or any debris, and disseminate any sort of information that they get to FHP, Road Rangers," FDOT's Danielle Chapel said.
 
Drivers can access these updates through 511, by using the iPhone or iPad app, checking its Twitter feed, going online or dialing 511.

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"You get great information on Florida's Turnpike, Florida's toll roads, Florida's interstates as far as what's going on with traffic, crashes, congestion, construction and the biggest thing is to know before you go," Florida 511 spokeswoman Christie Hyde said.

According to the FHP, last year, 30 people died on Florida roads during the holiday weekend. Many victims were not wearing seat belts and alcohol was to blame for many of those accidents. 

"In between the Tryptophan with the carbohydrates and some people are drinking so, you put alcohol and all of that together, it's kind of like lethal to go on the road," AAA Auto Club South spokesman Juan Rivera said.

AAA is predicting a slight increase on the roadways this year. Some 39.1 million Americans will travel by car during Thanksgiving, accounting for 90 percent of all holiday travel.

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