The Maryland State Highway Administration is asking commuters to take their time and avoid traveling during the snow expected to hit the region this afternoon.
Because of pavement temperatures below 20 degrees, the SHA will not pre-treat roads using salt brine that could freeze. Salt from Thursday’s snow removal operations remains on many roadways but SHA officials still warn of slippery and icy conditions during the Friday evening rush.
“We ask that all drivers take their time traveling Friday afternoon and plan ahead. It will be important to watch the weather and time your travel to avoid driving during the snow storm. Rush hour and winter precipitation are a terrible combination since SHA’s snow removal efforts can be severely hampered by traffic, crashes and disabled vehicles – making it difficult for crews to salt and plow the highways,” SHA administration Melinda Peters said in a press release.
The SHA also said schools are likely to adjust their schedules to give its crews space to work. Montgomery County Schools will close two-and-a-half hours early today.
Some more tips for this afternoon’s drive:
• Fill your gas tank, make sure you have window washer fluid, an ice scraper, a charged cell phone and an alternate travel plan should crashes or other incidents block your normal route.
• Listen to commercial traffic reports so you know the latest traffic impacts. Call 511 using a hands-free device.
• If snow starts mid-day, considerer delaying travel until after the snow stops. SHA crews work to achieve bare pavement within four hours after a storm stops. If you do travel, have realistic expectation and be patient.
• Drive focused – Maryland law prohibits hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving.
• Buckle up! It’s the law in Maryland and your number one defense in a crash.
• Move over to an adjacent travel lane away from emergency personnel – a new Maryland law requires it.
• Allow extra time for unexpected delays.
• Slow down and pay attention, avoiding distractions such as cell-phone use, changing CDs and eating. Observe all posted speed limits.