Safety Florida's Turnpike

Turnpike Safety

Since 1990 Florida's Turnpike traffic has doubled; more than 1.5 million motorists travel the Florida's Turnpike Enterprise system of roads on a daily basis. This brings increased challenges, as Florida's Turnpike Enterprise customers want reliable highways with predictable travel times. To continue to meet and exceed our customers' expectations, Florida's Turnpike Enterprise and FHP Troop K have joined forces to maximize drivers' safety.


NEWS RELEASE: “TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Throughout the month of July, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is encouraging motorists to “Stay Right at Night” to avoid being in a wrong way driving crash. DHSMV is partnering with the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to commemorate July 2016 as Wrong Way Driving Awareness Month.” (Read More)

Florida Highway Patrol

FHP's Troop K: Dedicated to serving Florida's Turnpike

In 1956, forward-looking legislators realized that because the Sunshine State's new, soon-to-be opened super highway, the Sunshine State Parkway, traversed such a large geographic area, it would be difficult to determine the costs for the individual units of Florida Highway Patrol to provide accurate costs. A troop dedicated solely to patrolling the 110-mile Turnpike would be necessary.

They further determined that it was unfair for taxpayers to pick up the cost of services they wouldn't receive since only toll-paying customers would benefit from officers assigned to patrol the Turnpike. The Legislature therefore mandated that the Turnpike would be patrolled by the a new Florida Highway Patrol troop, and that their services would be absorbed by revenue generated by tolls.

And Troop K was born.

On Friday, January 25, 1957, Troop K began patrolling the 110 mile stretch of the Sunshine State Parkway from Ft. Pierce in the north to the Golden Glades Interchange in Miami in the south, with 33 original troopers, equipped with 22 Ford Police Interceptors equipped with “special high speed engines capable of overtaking anything that is likely to be encountered on the turnpike," with an emphasis on “strict enforcement of the 60 mph speed limit, drinkers, fatigued drivers and bad tires."

Today Troop K has grown to nearly 200 troopers, with 55 Regional Duty Officers and 15 civilian support staff, patrolling the 450 miles of the Florida Turnpike Enterprise highway system, which includes the 312 mile mainline stretching from Wildwood in the north to Florida City in the south, the 23 mile Sawgrass Expressway, the 19 mile Seminole Expressway, the 15 mile Veterans Expressway in Tampa, the 42 mile Suncoast Parkway, the 25 mile Polk Parkway, the six mile Southern Connector Extension of the Central Florida GreeneWay in Orlando and an eight mile section of the Beachline Expressway in Orlando, traveling through 16 of Florida’s 67 counties to include Sumter, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Polk, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Seminole.

Troop K’s safety and enforcement emphasis is on unlawful speed, aggressive drivers, impaired drivers, contraband interdiction, seatbelt and child restraint, move over law, following too closely and commercial motor vehicles.

Florida Statute 338.239 directs that expenditures incurred by Florida Highway Patrol in carrying out its powers and duties while providing law enforcement services on the Turnpike shall be treated as a part of the cost of the operation of the Turnpike system, and that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall be reimbursed by the Turnpike Enterprise for such expenses.

The statute also directs that Florida Highway Patrol Troop K shall be headquartered with the Turnpike Enterprise and shall be the official and preferred law enforcement troop for the Turnpike system.

For further information about FHP, please visit www.fhp.state.fl.us.

Hurricane Evacuations

Hurricane Evacuations: Providing a Safe Escape

If your personal hurricane evacuation plan includes a trip on Florida’s Turnpike, the Florida Department of Transportation offers the following tips to ensure your journey is safe:

  • Check on the status of evacuation orders and advisories in your area. Do this via your local county emergency operations center or by visiting the State of Florida Emergency Response Team website at http://www.floridadisaster.org/EMTOOLS/Severe/hurricanes.htm and learn how to prepare.
  • If evacuations for your area are suggested or mandatory, make sure your vehicle is fully fueled and well serviced before you hit the road (air, oil, fuel). Consider fueling up early on while the storm is still being tracked and the final path may still be uncertain. Fuel availability may be limited, especially immediately before and after the storm hits, and available fuel will generate extremely long lines at Turnpike service plazas and local gas stations. Those who choose not to evacuate will probably be filling up containers to fuel their generators, adding to lines and delays at stations. If you wait until the last minute to fuel up, lines will be long and tempers will be short and they may run out before you even make it to the pump.
  • Carry a supply of food and water for each member of the traveling party; do not depend on obtaining fuel, food, beverages or other supplies at the Turnpike's service plazas as they may be in short supply due to the large volume of motorists on the roadway.
  • Do not wait to evacuate until after the announcement that Turnpike tolls have been suspended. Tolls are often suspended in conjunction with mandatory evacuation orders which may come only after the threat of hurricane landfall is imminent. Consider paying the toll and leaving early when traffic is much lighter.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate as weather conditions will make travel difficult. You do not want to be out on open roadway as a storm makes landfall. Emergency personnel and law enforcement will probably be unable to attempt rescues until imminent danger has passed. Do not wait too long and put yourself at even greater risk.
  • Service plazas are not intended to serve as hurricane shelters and as the storm approaches, restaurant and fuel stations will be closed and personnel evacuated, so these services will be unavailable well in advance of landfall.
  • During toll suspensions, remember to have cash available anyway. Even if tolls are suspended on one segment of the Turnpike system, it does not mean they are suspended on every road or bridge. When you approach a plaza at which the tolls are suspended, SLOW DOWN and be conscious of and courteous to other motorists.
  • Have a specific destination in mind and the route planned well in advance of your departure. When you travel be sure to carry any appropriate maps along inside your vehicle.
  • When possible, evacuate tens of miles instead of hundreds of miles.
  • Do not expect to travel at normal Turnpike highway speeds. Expect travel speeds to be much lower during an evacuation, by as much as 20-25 mph depending on traffic volumes.
  • Please pack a lot of patience and be prepared for delays. Significant traffic delays are inevitable in a state as densely populated as Florida. If South Florida is under evacuation orders, as many as 1.5 to three million motorists may take to the highways. It is important to avoid the rush and depart earlier rather than later.
  • Do not rely on GPS for up-to-date route information during an evacuation. Portions or all of some roadways, and Interstate and Turnpike ramps may be closed and this information will not be shown on your GPS device. FL511, highway advisory radio, overhead message boards and portable highway message signs will give you the most current information on closures and detours.

Getting back after the storm:

If you have traveled out of your area and it has been impacted by the storm, be sure to stock up on any items that might be in short supply when you return home. Consider getting extra cash at a working ATM. Fuel up before traveling to an area that might have limited availability due to power outages. Follow any emergency instructions that may be displayed on the Turnpike’s overhead dynamic message signs.

Wait for an all-clear before attempting to get back out on the roadway.

While you may be curious to see any damage in your neighborhood, the road may not be passable or contain hidden obstructions--especially at night if street and overhead lighting is knocked out. Additionally, highway, clean-up, and utility crews will be on the roads as soon as danger has passed trying to restore power and services and clear debris from highways. Keep the roadway clear for them unless it is an emergency.

Florida's power companies do an excellent job of providing updated information on their websites regarding areas where the power is out. Check their websites before traveling back to an area with no avilable power or no sanitary services.

If there are major power outages in an area, remember that traffic signals may not be functional. If a signal is not working, you must approach the intersection and treat it as a four-way stop if law enforcement is not onsite directing traffic. Traffic signs may be damaged or missing completely, so approach all intersections with care, especially if you are traveling in an unfamiliar area.

State Farm Safety Patrol

State Farm

Providing assistance 365 days a year!

Emergency Road Service: Dial *347 or use the Motorist Aid Call Boxes.

State Farm Insurance and Florida’s Turnpike have a partnership to promote highway safety.  The result of this partnership is the State Farm Safety Patrol provides free roadway assistance and services to motorists along Florida's Turnpike and the Sawgrass Expressway. Each safety patrol driver has completed Automated External Defibrillator training and is certified in CPR and first aid.

State Farm Safety Patrol benefits

The State Farm Safety Patrol helps:

  • Reduce accident rates
  • Minimize the duration time of incidents
  • Assist disabled drivers
  • Remove road debris

 

Have you been helped by the State Farm Safety Patrol? Click here to tell us your story.

Twelve Safety Patrol vehicles patrol Florida's Turnpike's Mainline from the Golden Glades Toll Plaza to the intersection of Florida's Turnpike and I-75 in Wildwood, Fla., as well as the Sawgrass Expressway and the Homestead Extension. These vehicles are equipped, at a minimum, with the following:

  • Cell Phones
  • First Aid Kits
  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED) 
  • Two-Ton Jacks
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Flashing Arrow Board
  • Five Gallons of Sand
  • Public Address System
  • Air Compressor
  • Reflective Cones
  • Booster Cables
  • Wood Blocks
  • Auto Fluids
  • Flares
  • Radiator Water

 

State Farm Safety Patrol FAQs

What does the State Farm Safety Patrol do?
State Farm Safety Patrol vehicles travel Florida's Turnpike looking for stranded motorists, debris on the road, traffic accidents or other incidents. The State Farm Safety Patrol assists drivers and ultimately keeps traffic moving.

How much does this service cost motorists?
There is no charge for the service.

What services are available?
Some of the services offered are tire changes, cell phone calls for car service, gas and water refills, and jump-starts.

What are the hours of operations?
State Farm Safety Patrol vehicles run 24/7 on the Turnpike in the Orlando and Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas; 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week from milepost 116 to 133; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week from milepost 133 to 249, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week from milepost 272 to 308.

Can I call them if I need help when I am stranded?
During operating hours, the average arrival time for our State Farm Safety Patrol drivers is less than 30 minutes.  However, circumstances may dictate that the arrival time could be more than 30 minutes.  If you have a cell phone, you can dial *3-4-7 for assistance. If you are stranded on the highway, move your vehicle to a safe location, stay inside your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.


What areas are covered by the Safety Patrol?
State Farm Safety Patrol vehicles patrol the Mainline from the Golden Glades Toll Plaza to the intersection of Florida's Turnpike and I-75 in Wildwood, as well as the Sawgrass Expressway and the Homestead Extension.

I would like to become a Safety Patrol driver. Where can I pick up an application ?
Applications can be picked up at any of the Turnpike service plaza Shell gas stations.

Emergency Road Service: Dial *347 or use the Motorist Aid Call Boxes.

Contact Information
FLORIDA'S TURNPIKE
Project Manager: Jim Hilbert
Telephone: to (407) 264-3363

Contractor: Florida Turnpike Services, LLC
Contact: Herbie Bush, Safety Patrol Operations Manager
Telephone: (800) 927-7718

FLORIDA'S TURNPIKE SERVICE AREA

Florida's Turnpike (including the Homestead Extension) from Mile Post 0 to Mile Post 309 and the Sawgrass Expressway:

Hours of Operation:

Mainline

  • MP 0 – MP 116 (Miami to West Palm Beach) - 24/7
  • MP 116 – MP 249 (West Palm Beach to Kissimmee) – noon to 8 p.m., Sunday-Saturday
  • MP 249 - 272 (Orlando to Clermont) - 24/7
  • MP 272 – 308 (North of Orlando) - 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday and noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday

Sawgrass Expressway: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday and noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday

SR 417, SR 429 and SR 528 (Beachline Expressway): 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday-Saturday

Veterans Expressway: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday

About State Farm Insurance
State Farm is the number one insurer of cars in the United States.
We offer:

  • Competitive rates
  • 24-Hour Good Neighbor Service™
  • Discounts for auto insurance
  • Personalized service
  • Exceptional claim service

Visit us online at www.statefarm.com or call a local State Farm agent today!
“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there™”

Mainline Safety Program

Safe driving for all

Florida's Turnpike is committed to creating a safe environment for all motorists. To that end, Florida's Turnpike is investing $40 million in safety-related initiatives, including:


Additional Law Enforcement

FHP's Troop K, the dedicated troop of officers for Florida's Turnpike, added new crash investigation officers and increased patrols along Florida's Turnpike and at service plazas.


Holiday Motorist Safety Breaks

During specified holidays, restaurants at the eight 24-hour service plazas along Florida's Turnpike will offer free coffee for all motorists who promise to wear their safety belts.


Incident Management and Quick Clear Policy

Florida's Turnpike is offering tow operators contract incentives to clear crash scenes quicker. The new policy also maximizes the effectiveness of Traffic Management Centers and advanced computer technology for accident clearance. The goal is to clear all accidents within 90 minutes. In addition, Florida's Turnpike has doubled the number of complimentary Road Rangers who now patrol the entire Turnpike system, including the Sawgrass Expressway.


Public Outreach and Education

Florida's Turnpike offers periodic motorist safety awareness events at service plazas, such as child car seat safety checks. Florida's Turnpike also has installed humorous signs on remote sections of the roadway to help improve driver alertness.


Move-over Law

The Move Over Act was instituted in the State of Florida in July 2002 to protect law enforcement officers and other emergency workers stopped alongside our highways. Motorists are required to approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle is stopped ahead with its lights flashing. Motorists must change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if they are on a multi-lane highway and can do so SAFELY. If drivers can't change lanes safely, or they are on a two-lane highway, they must slow down while maintaining a safe speed so as not to impede other traffic. A violation can result in fines being assessed. For more information, contact the Florida Highway Patrol, Office of Public Affairs at fhp@hsmv.state.fl.us or call 850-617-2301.

Toll Plaza Safety

Motorists approaching a toll plaza on Florida's Turnpike should slow to the posted speed and should remain conscious of other motorists who may be approaching the plaza as well. Be alert for motorists who may be weaving for a particular lane and for the merging of traffic on the downstream side of the plaza.

Most toll plazas on Florida's Turnpike contain special lanes marked SunPass Only. These lanes are reserved for vehicles equipped with SunPass, the state of Florida's method of electronic toll collection. SunPass Only lanes are identified by white and yellow signs in advance of, and eventually over the SunPass Only lanes. A motorist who enters a SunPass Only lane, without a SunPass, may be subject to a toll violation warning or a uniform traffic citation.

Never get out of your vehicle at a toll facility.

Do not back up--this is illegal and very dangerous.

If you feel you have passed through a SunPass-Only lane by mistake, contact the SunPass operations center directly at 888-865-5352.

If you are interested in becoming a SunPass customer please call 888-865-5352 or go to www.sunpass.com

U-Turns

Legal U-Turns available at service plazas

u-turn

Please be advised that U-Turns on Florida's Turnpike are only permitted at service plazas, located approximately every 40 miles. Motorists who make a legal U-Turn at a service plaza, then exit the Turnpike at the same place where they entered will be charged a special U-Turn rate.

Motorists who attempt to make U-Turns at emergency vehicle turnarounds could be subject to traffic citations.

Click here for a printer-friendly listing of u-turn rates on Florida's Turnpike.
Florida's Turnpike Enterprise U-Turn Policy