BALTIMORE, MD – The July 4th holiday travel period begins next week, and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will be suspending non-emergency lane closures in high-volume regions across Maryland from Wednesday, July 3rd until Monday, July 8th.
MDOT SHA will also deploy CHART emergency-response units at key locations to assist motorists and keep lanes open.
Motorists are encouraged to “Leave Early and Stay Late” when traveling to the Eastern Shore and to stagger departure times to reduce congestion at peak-travel times. For return trips, MDOT SHA is urging drivers disregard mobile traffic apps and stay on US 50 (Ocean Gateway), which is designed for large traffic volumes. Exiting onto local roadways will create significant congestion and delayed emergency response.
A quick inspection can help reduce the likelihood of a disabled vehicle and will help keep lanes incident-free. Check vehicles closely before hitting the highway. Hot weather can take a toll on older vehicle components. Inspect tires for proper traction and pressure, look for any vehicle damage, check belts and hoses for excess wear and replace hoses if you find a leak.
Drivers should expect additional pedestrian and bicycle traffic around Independence Day events; stay alert and stop for pedestrians and pass bicyclists with at least three feet of space. Motorists are also urged to remain extra vigilant for animals crossing the roads. Loud fireworks can spook deer and other wildlife, as well as domestics pets.
If you plan on driving during the July 4th holiday, MDOT SHA offers the following advice:
• Buckle up! It’s the law. All seats, all ages, all the time – yes, even the backseat;
• State law requires vehicles to MOVE OVER when approaching an emergency, transportation, service and utility vehicle or tow truck with red, yellow or amber flashing lights. If you are unable to move over, slow down;
• Don’t drive after drinking. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver or use a taxi or ride service;
• Park the Phone – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland. Get plenty of rest before hitting the road;
• Travel at the posted speed limit; and
• If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull off as far as you can on the highway and call #77 or 911 for help.
For real-time travel conditions, log onto http://md511.maryland.gov. For Chesapeake Bay Bridge conditions, use a hands-free device to call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726).