Press Release, Maryland Department of Transportation
100 Million Motorists Expected to Travel by Car Nationally; Flood Watch in Effect for Most of Maryland
(December 20, 2018) – The holiday travel season has arrived, and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is preparing for the estimated 100 million motorists taking to the roads nationally this holiday season. To accommodate the anticipated 4 percent increase in holiday travel, MDOT SHA will be suspending non-emergency lane closures in major metropolitan areas throughout the State.
To compound potential traffic issues, much of Maryland is under a flood watch between 7 p.m. tonight through 6 p.m. Friday. According to the National Weather Service, the approaching storm may produce up to three inches of rain on already saturated soils. Motorists are reminded to “Turn Around – Don’t Drown” if encountering a flooded roadway. Motorists should be aware of falling trees and potential power outages that could affect traffic signals. It’s Maryland law that when windshield wipers are on, low-beam headlights must be on.
Additionally, MDOT SHA is urging motorists to inspect their vehicles carefully before hitting the highway. Mechanical breakdowns on high-speed roads are extremely dangerous and can be deadly. Check tires for proper traction and pressure and look for damage.
Check belts and hoses for excess wear and replace coolant hoses if there is a leak. A quick inspection of the vehicle can help reduce the likelihood of a breakdown and will help MDOT SHA keeps lanes free and clear. Should a motorist experience mechanical breakdown, pull as far off the roadway as possible and don’t exit the vehicle. Drivers should dial #77 or 911.
If traveling, motorists should take the following precautions:
- Buckle up! It’s the law. All seats, all the time – yes, even the backseat;
- Don’t drive after drinking. Designate a sober driver;
- Park the cell phone and mobile device and pay close attention to the road ahead;
- Get plenty of rest before hitting the road; and
- Travel at the posted speed limit.
MDOT SHA offers real-time travel conditions and access to live traffic cameras at md511.maryland.gov. In cases of inclement weather, the web app STORM (Statewide Transportation Operations Response Map) is available to help citizens track brine and plow trucks. To view construction projects statewide, please visit Road Ready.