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Cruise through Spring Break traffic with free 511 traffic system

By Staff | Mar 10, 2009

Travelocity has named four of Florida’s major metropolitan areas as top Spring Break destinations for 2009, including South Florida, Orlando, Tampa Bay and Fort Myers. As millions of Spring Breakers travel throughout the Sunshine State, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) encourages drivers to call 511 or visit the FL511.com Web site before getting on the road.

FDOT’s 511 system helps save time by informing travelers of congestion and roadway conditions. By learning about traffic conditions before traveling, drivers can make informed decisions to take an alternate route or change their departure time. By avoiding congestion, travelers do not waste time idling in stop-and-go traffic.

The free phone and Internet system provides real-time information on traffic conditions, construction updates and severe weather alerts.

“We urge students and other travelers to plan their travel routes before getting on the road this year as several of Florida’s major universities have coinciding Spring Break schedules,” said Sheila M. McDevitt, chair of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida. “Florida’s free 511 system helps keep travelers safe by keeping them informed of road conditions on the drive home or to one of Florida’s top vacation destinations.”

Schools that have overlapping Spring Breaks from March 9 to 13 include the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of West Florida, Florida A & M University and Palm Beach Community College, among others.

“Traffic congestion can lead to accidents, which can lead to even more congestion,” said Lt. Col. Ernesto Duarte of the Florida Highway Patrol. “If drivers can use 511 to plan a better route, everyone wins.”

Spring Breakers can call 511 to connect to the free Florida system from anywhere in the state. 511 connects callers to the system in their immediate area. The 511 system consists of the Statewide and five regional systems, including Central Florida, Northeast Florida, Southwest Florida, South Florida and Tampa Bay. By saying “other parts of the state,” a caller can transfer to any regional system and check road conditions on a local roadway.

511 is a free resource of the FDOT and is accessible from land lines or cell phones, however cell phone minutes apply.