Where to get free coffee if you’re driving in Florida for the holidays

Driving for the holidays and need a little pick-me-up? Find it at service plazas along Florida’s Turnpike in the form of free coffee.

Each plaza and its gas station will offer a “Free Coffee Safety Break” over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, turnpike officials said in a news release.

Who can say no to a free cup of coffee? Especially one that's perfectly timed to help you make it to your family's holiday dinner. (Getty Images)

Who can say no to a free cup of coffee? Especially one that’s perfectly timed to help you make it to your family’s holiday dinner. (Getty Images)

Here are the dates/times when you can get the free coffee:

• 11 p.m. Dec. 24 to 6 a.m. Dec. 25
• 11 p.m. Dec. 25 to 6 a.m. Dec. 26
• 11 p.m. Dec. 31 to 6 a.m. Jan. 1
• 11 p.m. Jan. 1 to 6 a.m. Jan. 2

» RELATED: Drowsy driving: A holiday danger you should pay more attention to

The U.S. Department of Transportation says Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s are the top long-distance travel periods each year, with more than 90 percent of those travelers take a personal vehicle. With more people on the roads, driving while sleepy or impaired can pose a real threat to motorists.

Last year, Palm Beach County’s number of fatigue-related crashes, 315, fell behind Miami-Dade with 550, Broward with 405 and Orange with 324, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Throughout Florida, state officials say there were 23 deaths and more than 4,000 wrecks caused by drowsy driving.

The Florida Department of Transportation says that if you’re feeling sleepy behind the wheel, getting some caffeine and taking a break to walk can help.

So take advantage of the free coffee if you’re making one of these overnight treks.

CHECK YOUR MEDS

Want to see whether your medication could affect your driving? Go to www.roadwiserx.com.

WARNING SIGNS

A recent Governors Highway Safety Association study notes different levels of drowsiness, and what to look for:

Moderately drowsy: A driver will have “slack facial muscles, limited body movement and reduced eye scan.”

Severely drowsy: A driver will have the signs of being moderately drowsy, plus “extended eyelid closures and difficulty keeping his or her head up.”

TIPS TO PREVENT DROWSY DRIVING

• Drive sober and avoid medications that cause drowsiness.

• Get a good night’s sleep before driving.

• Take a companion on long trips. Not only will you have someone to share the driving and help keep you awake but you’ll be able to save energy by carpooling, too.

• Schedule regular breaks, about every 100 miles or every two hours.

• Avoid driving at times you usually would be asleep.

• If you begin to feel tired while driving, pull over in a safe place — such as a rest area or service plaza — and take a nap if you can.

• Drink caffeine. Two cups of coffee can increase your alertness for several hours.

SOURCES: Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

 

 

 

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