With two significant events this weekend – Halloween on Saturday, October 31, and shortened daylight hours with the end of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 1 – the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office and the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) are reminding motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to look out for one another and travel safely.
“With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year and the decrease in daylight hours this Sunday, drivers must be even more alert and slow down, especially near intersections and crosswalks,” said Tim Smith, MDOT SHA Administrator.
Last year, 534 motor vehicle crash fatalities occurred on Maryland roads. Pedestrians account for one in four traffic deaths annually, with 67% of those incidents occurring between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Even with the COVID-19 State of Emergency, drunk and drugged driving remain a threat on Maryland roadways, especially during holidays. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), when holidays fall on a weekend, drunk driving crashes tend to increase. During the past five years in Maryland, more than 16,400 individuals were either killed or injured in a crash where drugs and/or alcohol were involved.
“Drunk and drugged drivers remain one of our biggest threats on Maryland roadways,” said Chrissy Nizer, MDOT Motor Vehicle Administrator and Governor Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “We are asking all drivers and pedestrians to make a plan for a safe ride home.”
MDOT SHA and the MDOT MVA Highway Safety Office offer these tips to help keep everyone safe.
- Be the SOBER driver. Make a plan for a sober ride.
- Buckle up. Make sure everyone in the vehicle using a seat belt before you hit the road.
- Obey the speed limit. Speeding makes it more difficult to stop unexpectedly.
- Stay alert. Park the phone and avoid distractions.
- Stop for pedestrians. Maryland law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections.
- Follow all traffic signals and use caution when turning at intersections.
- Allow 3 feet when passing bicyclists.
- Stop at stop signs and for school buses.
- Enter and exit driveways slowly. Look for pedestrians behind your vehicle.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing a street.
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever they are available.
- Walk, don’t run when crossing the street.
- See and be seen. With fewer daylight hours, pedestrians should remember to wear bright or reflective clothing when walking after dusk or before dawn.
- Stay alert Watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
- Wear a helmet.
- Stop at red lights and stop signs.
- Stay visible. Use lights and reflective devices when riding at night and during inclement weather.
- Ride defensively. Expect the unexpected.
- Ride with traffic, never against it.
- Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
- Yield right of way to pedestrians.
- Use marked bike lanes or paths when they are available. Only ride on sidewalks where allowed by local ordinance.
Also, all Marylanders are reminded to use face coverings and stay socially distant when out with others to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
By following the rules of the road and engaging in safe behaviors, we can all help keep drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists safe. Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD. For additional safety tips from MDOT SHA, visit roads.maryland.gov on Facebook MDOTSHA, Twitter MDSHA and Instagram MarylandStateHighwayAdmin.