Dateline: August/September, 2004.
I was in Europe attending a travel writers conference when Florida was hit with four vicious hurricanes . . . Charlie, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. My book distributor started getting urgent calls from Florida bookstores - they needed extra copies of our successful driving guidebook, "Along I-75", to help people evacuate northwards on the interstate and into Georgia.

For several years, I had planned to write a book similar to "Along I-75" about Florida's major routes . . . but the 2004 hurricanes made me realize there was a need for a book which helps people evacuate from their familiar home locale by giving them detailed information about the unfamiliar expressways ahead.

The "Along Florida's Expressways" project was born.

In January, 2005, we met with Visit Florida (the State's official tourism organization in Tallahassee) and spent six weeks driving 4,916 miles around the State, gathering data and mapping every interstate, toll-route and freeway in both directions, for our highly detailed 25 miles-per-page colored strip maps. We changed lodgings 43 times becoming experts at unpacking and packing our car in the process.

Today, "Along Florida's Expressways" is off the presses. It contains no advertising or commercial content, and is arguably, the only driving guidebook available to help Floridians evacuate from their homes by car, into unknown areas of the State.


Here's How it Helps in an Emergency Evacuation    Hurricane Emergency Evacuation

  • All our maps include county names & boundaries, so you know which county you are in. This is very important if you are in unfamiliar territory since emergency instructions are issued by county name.

  • Each map includes the radio frequency of the official Evacuation Route Information, for that area. So no matter where you are, you know how to tune into this valuable road information.

  • The book also includes a useful chart of local radio stations identified by types of programming . . . so you will know where you should tune your car radio for local news.

  • Routes paralleling Florida's expressways are shown in brown. Their interconnection with expressway exits is also shown. This could be extremely valuable information if the expressway is jammed with traffic since studies show that in past hurricane evacuations, the parallel local roads are often under utilized.

  • Every exit ahead on an unfamiliar expressway is shown - gas stations, food, grocery stores, "super" stores such as Wal-Mart, medical & police services, pharmacies and lodgings.

    But most important, we show which side of the expressway each is on so you can exit the traffic easily, and re-merge on the same side.

  • Our road maps include mile-by-mile, the number of traffic lanes on the expressway . . . so you will be warned about merge (or expansion) conditions ahead. You will even know whether the change in the number of lanes affects the "slow" or the "overtaking" lane.

    By knowing ahead of time, the number of miles before your reach these changing road conditions, you can plan to drive in a lane not affected by the change.


Here are some useful website links for you.

 
We hope you never need this information, but if you have to evacuate from your familiar home area in an emergency, imagine how helpful it would be to have all this information on the seat beside you . . . in your car.