In preparation for Hurricane Irma, the governor of Florida advised and directed in many cases, that residents evacuate Florida in advance of the dangerous storm.  This led to traffic jams that lasted 300-400 miles, gas outages and everything else that can go wrong when a million people hit the highway.

As I watched the evacuation on Google maps with traffic view, I noticed that most people evacuated the same day.  As you can see below, this was a traffic nightmare for fleeing residents.  Interstate 75 was a backed up from Sarasota, FL all the way to Atlanta.  Interstate 95 was no better as traffic was stop and go from Daytona Beach all the way into South Carolina. 


One thing I did notice was when I zoomed in to the map more closely, the secondary routes (U.S and state highways), the traffic was light.  I'm willing to bet that travelers on these routes could've made better time and not experienced the stress and gas outages that interstate travelers had to deal with.

The Florida governor was asked why he didn't reverse the interstates to allow all lanes to go north. As I expected, he had to keep south bound open to allow emergency supplies to be brought down in advance of the storm. 

The screenshot below shows how Georgia reversed Interstate 16 from Savannah to Macon in order to double the capacity of travelers that are fleeing the storm.  This is a very labor intensive effort to coordinate such a thing. 


When traveling in extremely challenging situations as many in this country have done as of late, there is technology available that gives us more options.  Use Google Maps with traffic view to see what's ahead and plan other ways to achieve your objective.  This is an example of when "going along with the crowd" can be a very bad decision.

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Joey Slaughter

Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. Joey has been in the trucking industry since 1992.

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