IRMA: Evacuees from Brevard, South Florida add to highway traffic

By Cheryn Stone, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, September 08, 2017, 1:15 AM EDT

Highways and roads throughout Central Florida were busy Thursday with people evacuating from Brevard County and South Florida.

  • I-95, I-75, Turnpike all gridlocked
  • Breakdowns, drivers out of gas on road shoulders
  • FHP towing diabled vehicles from road shoulders
  • REAL TIME TRAFFIC CHECK: See LIVE road conditions on our map

People traveling through Florida use I-95 on the east coast and I-75 on the west coast to go north and south. Those interstates, along with other routes drivers use to cut across the state like Florida's Turnpike, were gridlocked in some areas on Thursday.

Along the Turnpike, Florida Highway Patrol reported seeing breakdowns, people who ran out gas, and some drivers who simply pulled off on the shoulder to rest. They said that's not a safe place to stop, and they will tow disabled vehicles.

“We have had people hit in previous incidents where they are stopped along the Turnpike," said FHP Sergeant Kim Montes. "It’s not a safe place because other people coming on northbound are tired and stressed. People are not driving at their peak right now.”

FHP recommended stopping at service plazas, instead. They have people in place at the plazas along the highways to keep traffic flowing so people can get food, fuel, and get back on the road.

Cecil Desousa stopped at the Okahumpka plaza Thursday afternoon. He was leaving Ft. Lauderdale to head to Georgia.

“We’ve been in traffic for quite some time, so we just came to get a little gas as a couple of stations have not had any gas on the way out,” he said.

Evacuees we spoke to who were stuck in the traffic offered advice.

“Take your time. Don't rush because it's more traffic when you do,” said Rod Gee.

“Don't be jerks while you're driving. Take it easy. Everybody is stuck in the same situation. We're all trying to get out of here have respect and courtesy for everybody,” said Teresa Bunce.

Bunce evacuated from her Melbourne home for good. She decided to move back to Minnesota.

“Well, we decided to move because at the moment it's either evacuate and then come back and maybe not have anything because the eye wall is supposed to hit there, or just move back up there with our family,“ she explained.

FHP says dial *FHP if you break down or run out of gas so they can help you get on your way.