BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More drivers are expected on Maryland road this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is urging motorists to buckle up, add more time for travel and stay alert. They also remind drivers to move over for emergency and service vehicles.

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“This is a good time to remind drivers to be alert for pedestrians, bicyclists and expect to see more drivers on the road than we experienced during last year’s Fourth of July holiday,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. “It’s important for motorists to park their phones, avoid distractions and obey the speed limits to ensure we all arrive safely to our destinations.”

SHA Crews will suspend non-emergency lane and shoulder closures in high-volume areas across the state starting Friday, July 2 until Wednesday, July 7.

Officials are asking people to “leave early and stay late” when traveling to the Eastern Shore and travel during off-peak hours to avoid congestion.

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Drivers should also be on the lookout for pedestrian and bicycle traffic especially around any July 4th events; and animal crossings and fireworks can spook pets and wildlife.

Before you leave, inspect your tires, look for vehicle damage and check belts and hoses for wear and leaks.

If you plan to drive over the Fourth of July holiday, MDOT SHA offers the following advice:

  • Buckle up. Make sure all passengers, including those in the back seat, are buckled up.
  • Slow down. Observe all posted speed limits.
  • Don’t drive impaired. If needed, designate a sober driver or use a taxi or ride service.
  • Park the phone. It’s illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.
  • Pay attention. Avoid distractions.
  • Move over. Motorists are required by law to move over when approaching an emergency, service, utility or transportation vehicle or tow truck with red, yellow or amber flashing lights. If you can’t move over, slow down.
  • Be patient. Travel during off-peak hours and allow extra time for unexpected delays.
  • Don’t pull over on the highway to watch fireworks. This location puts you and other motorists at risk.
  • Be prepared. In an emergency, those with cell phones can dial #77 to reach State Police. If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull off the highway as far as you can and call for help.

 

CBS Baltimore Staff