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Free Refreshments to Motorists

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving causes about 100,000 crashes each year. One way you can help prevent fatigue driving is to provide refreshments for motorists at rest areas.


  • Check with your state DOT Area Maintenance Engineer to get a permit and to determine which area you can set up your refreshment break activities. Prohibited areas include ramps, parking areas, and areas used by pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Get permission to set up a sign in advance of the rest area. The sign is usually placed on the highway right-of-way in a place that does not interfere with existing signing. Be sure to remove the sign immediately after the refreshment break.
  • Choose a time and day for this event. You may want to plan it around long weekends, e.g. New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc. when motorists travel long distances.
  • Recruit volunteers and determine what kind of refreshments you will provide, e.g. donuts, baked goods, chips, soda, coffee, and tea. Ask local baking stores for donations.
  • Gather supplies. You will need water coolers, water dispensers, paper cups, tables, chairs, and napkins. You may also want to collect crayons and coloring sheets to hand out to motorists with children.
  • Make large and colorful posters/signs to advertise the break. Post a sign a mile ahead of the rest area and display posters at the table to make it visible to motorists.
  • As motorists come, offer them the refreshments. Hand out church information when requested.
  • Be sure to clean up.


  • Make sure that your refreshment break does not interfere with the normal use of the rest area facilities by the public.