The State Highway Administration (SHA) is urging motorists to plan ahead for severe weather that could impact afternoon travel.
"The potential for severe weather coinciding with the afternoon rush hour is a possibility and motorists need to plan their afternoon trips now," said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. "The ground is saturated from a week of heavy rain and it is likely that we will see flooding, downed trees and power outages that will disable signals. Remember state law requires drivers to treat intersections where signals are without power as four-way stops."
SHA crews already responded to the band of weather this morning and are mobilized and ready to respond to this afternoon’s storm. The National Weather Service is forecasting storms capable of producing very high winds and heavy rain.
Motorists are reminded that if traffic signals are out at an intersection, ALL directions must come to a complete stop and drivers should treat the intersection like a four-way stop. Here are some tips to keep in mind if caught driving in severe weather:
Never attempt to cross flooded roadways – "Turn Around! Don’t Drown."
Wipers on? Lights On! As required by state law;
Use extra caution when turning at intersections , merge areas, and ramps;
Keep gas tanks full in case of unexpected and possible lengthy detours;
Keep a charged mobile phone, but don’t use hand-held devices while driving – state law;
Remain alert for emergency and law enforcement vehicles – move to the opposite lane when passing them along the road, as required by law;
Turn in to local traffic reports and plan alternate routes to divert from closed roads.
Never try to move a tree branches that have been entangled in electrical wires or try to move a fallen electrical or communication cable from the travel lanes;
Ensure that windshield wipers and all headlights, hazard lights and turn signals are in proper working order; and
Allow extra braking distance between vehicles.
Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information! Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit www.md511.org for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely – Maryland law prohibits hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.