NEWS RELEASE

BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO WEEKEND FUN IN THE SUN, DON’T FORGET TO CHECK 511!

State Highway Administration Offers Travel Tips; Leave Early and Stay Late; Travel Information at Your Fingertips

(May 27, 2016)  - The unofficial start of summer is upon us, and that means sojourns to Maryland’s trove of Eastern Shore beaches, Western Maryland lakes and the treasures between.  Tens of thousands of motorists will hit the road and travel for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) offers travel tips for safe and trouble-free trips, starting with 511: the State’s free travel advisory service that can be accessed by calling 511 or visiting md511.org.  The 511 service also offers travel updates directly by email and text.

Information is critical on high-volume traffic days.  Motorists are encouraged to use Maryland’s 511 system and the “Reach the Beach” feature, which offers real-time traffic details east of the Bay Bridge and, when leaving the shore, points west to the bridge.  If traveling to the Eastern Shore via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Maryland Transportation Authority recommends using 1-877-Bay-Span (1-877-229-7726).  When you call 511, just say “Reach the Beach.”

“With gasoline prices lower than last year, more people may choose to drive for a weakened getaway, increasing the chances of heavy traffic and delays,” said SHA Administrator Gregory Johnson, P.E.  “We urge drivers to leave at off-peak times, ensure your vehicle is in good working order and plan your route with 511.”

SHA is taking steps to reduce congestion by suspending all non-emergency lane closures and shoulder work associated with construction until Tuesday, May 31, as well as adding more emergency patrols to high-volume areas.  The extra patrols rapidly respond to disabled vehicles, crashes or other incidents that create traffic problems.  Opening lanes quickly keeps traffic moving and reduces the chance for secondary crashes.

Motorists are reminded that, should they get into a minor crash with no injuries, to “Move It” to a safe location out of the travel lanes to exchange insurance and contact information.  This helps reduce congestion and improve safety on the roads.

SHA also provides the following tips to keep travelers safe during the Memorial Day holiday weekend:

• 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.

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