Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For holiday drivers, safety is the main course

Millions of Floridians are planning to drive over the river, through the trees and down the interstate for the Thanksgiving holiday. While some 278,000 people in the Sunshine State plan to fly for their vacation, the vast majority of travelers will hit the road. All that traffic makes this a dangerous time. Capt. Mark Welch of the Florida Highway Patrol says drivers should remember the basics: "It's a holiday, so plan your trip, allow plenty of time to your destination, obey the speed limit, wear your seat belt, don't drink and drive, and dial *FHP or *347 to report aggressive driving." Curtis Krueger, Times staff writer

The good news for travelers is that gas prices are down, under $2 a gallon at many Tampa Bay area stations. A look back at AAA's statewide average for regular unleaded gasoline:

This year (as of Sunday) $1.98

Thanksgiving 2007 $3.15

Thanksgiving 2006 $2.26

Thanksgiving 2005 $2.30

Thanksgiving 2004 $2.00

More good news: fewer motorists on the road. AAA estimates that more than 2.1-million Floridians will drive for the holidays, fewer than last year's projections.

This year 2,149,944

2007 2,231,916

2006 2,188,153

2005 2,028,871

2004 2,016,771

Drive smart

If you are planning to make a long drive and then spend several hours stuffing yourself with turkey, don't try to guzzle coffee and drive back home at night.

"We encourage those folks to stay overnight, get a fresh start in the morning. They're refreshed, they can drive in daylight hours," said AAA's Gregg Laskoski.

Sunny Thanksgiving

With the economy faltering and tourism suffering, the state agency Visit Florida is urging Floridians to take vacations by exploring their own state. The idea, says corporate communications manager Dia Kuykendall, is "to encourage people that live here in Florida to get out and see parts of Florida that they've never seen." Need some ideas? The agency highlights 10 vacation experts who write blogs about unique Florida-only destinations at The bloggers also will respond to reader questions like, Where can I find kid-friendly, gluten-free food near Ellenton? Where do I go to find discounted green fees near Orlando? What's the best beach in Florida in February?

Slow going

Here are some construction zones that could slow you down on major routes around the state, depending on time of day and work schedules:

Interstate 4: between Exits 79 and 94 near Orlando.

Interstate 95: between Exits 356B and 358A in Jacksonville.

Interstate 75: north of Florida's Turnpike in Sumter County; between Exit 136 in Lee County and Exit 105 in Collier County; and near the Collier County-Broward County line.

For holiday drivers, safety is the main course 11/23/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 23, 2008 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  2. Tampa International named among least expensive airports


    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]

  3. What Hurricane Maria taught me about the people of Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — After Hurricane Maria took their roof, water and electricity — but spared their chickens — Ana De Jesús and Santiago Quiñones packed a few basics and moved across the street into their windowless beachside kiosk.

    Ismael Freytes, 69, removes muddy debris as he tries to clean out his house in Arecibo, where the local river poured into the streets after Hurricane Maria. [CARL JUSTE?| Miami Herald]
  4. Anna Maria City Pier to close for year after 'extensive damage' from Hurricane Irma


    ANNA MARIA — While Hurricane Irma's last-minute shift helped spare large swaths of Florida cities from catastrophic damage, the Anna Maria City Pier didn't fare so well.

    A damage assessment following Hurricane Irma suggests repairs for the Anna Maria City Pier can take at least 12 months. [LUIS SANTANA for Visit Florida]
  5. Photo of the Day for September 26, 2017 - Flying gecko on glass

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Wayne Rayburn of Tarpon Springs, FL. He calls it "Flying gecko on glass."