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Md. troopers out in force on heavy travel day

November 25, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

Maryland State Police will be out in force Wednesday to monitor traffic during one of the heaviest travel days of the year, 1st Sgt. Kevin Lewis said.

"We will have troopers out looking for aggressive driving behavior, checking for disabled motorists and trying to clear up any accidents," Lewis said.

He said police expect the busiest travel time to span from midday through late evening, with traffic especially heavy on westbound Interstate 70. By about 4 p.m., the westbound lanes of I-70 "most likely will look like a parking lot," Lewis said.

To avoid the worst of the traffic, police recommend leaving early in the morning. If that isn't feasible, waiting until late evening to travel could also be a good option, Lewis said.

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Safety is another important consideration, as more vehicles on the roads translates into a higher risk for crashes, according to the National Safety Council. Generally, the risk for fatal injuries on U.S. roads and highways is more than 42 percent higher than normal on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and 19 percent higher than normal on Thanksgiving Day, according to the council.

Fortunately, more than 90 percent of all fatal traffic crashes are preventable, according to a press release from the Maryland State Highway Administration.

To reduce your chances of being involved or injured in a crash, SHA recommends driving sober, buckling up, slowing down, increasing following distance, and avoiding distractions such as cell phone use, changing CDs and eating.

SHA officials also suggest checking traffic conditions online ahead of time and ask that drivers with cell phones dial #77 to report suspected aggressive or drunken drivers.

To ease congestion, all nonemergency roadwork on SHA-maintained roadways will be suspended from Wednesday through Sunday, SHA officials said.

Hagerstown-area weather forecasts look promising for holiday travel, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Woodcock said. Today should be mostly cloudy with a high around 40 in Hagerstown, and Thanksgiving Day should be mostly sunny with a high in the upper 40s, he said.

On the Web:



Check live traffic cameras and condition maps for Maryland roadways at www.chart.state.md.us/travinfo/travinfo.asp.

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