The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) offers the following travel tips for the winter months:
PLAN AHEAD for your travels.
- For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA. To sign up for email/text alerts or view real-time traffic camera on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
- Pay the lowest tolls with E-ZPass Maryland! E-ZPass transponders are FREE and there’s no $1.50 monthly fee. Visit ezpassmd.com
- Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions or visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras.
- Know Before You Go - Check Traffic Advisories for MDTA scheduled construction and maintenance projects. Visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.
- Consider the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 near Washington D.C. and the I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) in Baltimore to save travel time.
- Traveling I-95 in northeast Maryland? Stop by the Maryland or Chesapeake House Travel Plazas that feature multiple food concepts, Wi-Fi and modern restrooms.
- The right lane of the westbound Bay Bridge is closed 24/7 through May 2020. No two-way traffic operations, except during emergencies. Expect delays in both directions. Details at Baybridge.com.
- Cashless toll collection at the (I-695) Key Bridge and (US 40) Hatem Bridge. Tolls collected via E-ZPass or Video Tolling.
- I-895 Bridge Project continues north of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. One lane is open in each direction. Motorists should use I-695/Key Bridge and I-95/Fort McHenry Tunnel as alternate routes. Details at 895bmore.com.
Pack a winter weather emergency kit for your vehicle. Recommended contents:
- Cell phone and car charger
- Blankets or a sleeping bag
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- Emergency flares
- Extra clothing (boots, hats and gloves)
- Bottled water or juice and nonperishable foods
- First-aid kit and necessary medications
- Sand or non-clumping cat litter for tire traction
Drive only if it’s absolutely necessary when winter weather hits. For your safety and the safety of other motorists and emergency personnel:
- THINK ICE! What appears wet may be ice.
- Clear ALL snow from your vehicle and headlights before driving and check your wiper fluid. If you can't see, you can't drive!
- Bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads will freeze first.
- Do not pass snow plows and salting trucks.
- Wipers On = Headlights On
- Make sure your vehicle is “road ready.”
- If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.
- When contacting a dispatch center, motorists should be prepared to provide:
- The location of the emergency;
- A call-back telephone number; and
- Details of the incident/disabled vehicle or other circumstances.
- Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland. Avoid all distractions - keep your eyes on the road.
- State law requires vehicles to move over when approaching an emergency, transportation, service, utility or tow vehicle with red, yellow or amber flashing lights. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
- Buckle Up! Every Seat. Every Time.
- Avoid changing lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
- Headlights are required at all times on the Bay Bridge.
- Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-use signals.
- Save the tailgating for the stadium - keep a safe following distance.
- Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs will be stopped, arrested and prosecuted.
Please use caution, reduce speeds and increase following distances when traveling on wet/icy roads.
On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings and restrictions would be implemented as outlined below*:
- Wind Warnings (sustained wind speeds of 30-39 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 30 mph over a period of 15 mins) operators of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles, vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo or any other vehicle that may be subject to high winds are advised to use caution while traveling across the bridge.
- Limited Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds of 40-49 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 40 mph over a period of 15 mins) house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge. Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.
- Full Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds exceeding 50 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 50 mph over a period of 15 mins) only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.
- Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure (sustained wind speeds exceeding 55 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 55 mph over a period of 15 mins) In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of all traffic across the bridge.
* When a wind warning, restriction or closure is implemented at the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40), no bicycles are permitted.
Note: Bicyclists are allowed to cross the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) from dawn to dusk Saturday, Sunday and state holidays only and during pre-arranged special events.
The MDTA thanks motorists for partnering with us. Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!