SHA Gets You "Road Ready" for Memorial Day, Summer Driving Season

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SHA Gets You "Road Ready" for Memorial Day, Summer Driving Season

MARYLAND - 5/27/2010

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The snow is finally gone and green grass and flowers are taking its place.  Along with everything else that is reborn during spring, so is road construction.  The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is introducing Road Ready 2010, a complete online guide to highway work zones throughout Maryland. Road Ready uses SHA’s state-of-the-art mapping systems, which provide precise locations and details on projects and is available on SHA’s website at www.roads.maryland.gov, then click on “Info Center” and maps/brochures.
   
Road Ready 2010 is an essential travel tool for motorists who are itching to make Maryland’s blizzard-filled February a distant memory by escaping to a relaxing vacation.  SHA lists all major projects along the 17,000 lanes miles of SHA maintained highways in Maryland’s 23 counties that could create traffic delays during the spring through fall driving seasons.  Smaller work zones such as tree trimming, line striping, or pothole patching projects are not highlighted as they are often mobile operations completed in a short amount of time.

“Avoiding construction across the State will not only save on time and fuel costs, but also increases safety for crews in work zones,” said Neil J. Pedersen, SHA Administrator.  “I want to encourage all motorists and users of our highway system to make work zone safety your priority.  In four out of five work zone crashes, it is the motorist or passenger who is injured.”
   
Safety is SHA’s number-one priority.  SHA crews and contractors work hard every day keeping Maryland highways safe and in good condition.  SHA is taking additional steps to help keep those who call the highway their office safe.  Through the Maryland SafeZones Program, automated speed enforcement cameras are now operating in highway work zones at four locations in central Maryland.  The locations are I-695 at MD 139 (Charles Street); I-695 at MD 26 (Liberty Road), I-95 between I-895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway) and MD 43 (Whitemarsh Boulevard) and I-95 south of MD 198 (Sandy Spring Road).

Here are some suggestions to guide motorists safely through work zones.

SLOW DOWN – In many instances, work zones have reduced speed limits.  Slowing down in work zones is crucial for your safety and the safety of construction workers.

STAY ALERT – Paying attention to what you are doing is the most important part of driving, especially when approaching and driving through construction zones. Answering a phone, changing a CD or radio station, combing your hair or even talking to another passenger can be a deadly distraction.

PLAN AHEAD – If you are taking a trip, consult your Road Ready brochure; (the 2010 edition is now available). Have alternate routes planned and leave extra time to reach your destination.

THINK ORANGE – Orange is the standard color for construction activity.  If you see orange when driving, be prepared for possible construction vehicles, dust, lane shifts, uneven or unmarked pavement or even stopped vehicles ahead of you.

It’s equally important to make sure that your car is road ready.  A few minutes of extra preparation can go a long way and help keep you on the road to your vacation destination rather than in the repair shop.  Here are some basic things to check before hitting the highway:

•    Inspect tire tread and make sure tires are at the recommended pressure;
•    Make sure belts and hoses are not worn, frayed or bulging;
•    Check oil, antifreeze, power steering and brake fluids;
•    Inspect headlights, brake lights and turn signals for proper operation; and
•    Test car battery to ensure a proper charge.

A trip free of congestion will go a long way to aid in the relaxation of a vacation or getaway.  Log onto www.roads.maryland.gov and click on the Road Ready 2010 link to be prepared for or avoid construction delays while planning your getaway.  To get real-time traffic information, click on the CHART icon for access to live traffic cameras and incidents or crashes on the highways. Motorists should also review the rules of the road and log onto www.choosesafetyforlife.com.  Safe travels this spring and summer.



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