Cars in long row on highway in traffic jam

As Thanksgiving Approaches, MEMA Reminds Maryland Residents it is Maryland Travel Safety Week

News Release, Maryland Emergency Management Agency

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (November 21, 2018) — The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been promoting Maryland Travel Safety Week in an effort to ensure that residents are equipped with the latest travel safety information as we approach the busiest travel week of the year. MEMA would like travelers to remember two things:

  1. Know Before You Go.
  2. If You See Something, Say Something.

“While next week is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, we should always be mindful of safety as we move about,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “By paying attention to your surroundings and taking common-sense precautions, safe travel can be a year-round proposition.”

MEMA designated November 18 – 24 as Maryland Travel Safety Week in preparation for the beginning of holiday travel to encourage safe travel all year on all modes of Transportation.  MEMA encourages travelers to learn about safe travel practices whether using roads, air or rail, and as pedestrians and bike riders.

MEMA encourages Marylanders to review some of these simple practices recommended by safety specialists covering a variety of transportation methods and to remember, Know Before You Go – Do not leave your house for travel uninformed, unprepared, and hoping to learn about travel conditions and your destination while en-route:

Safety tips when traveling by motor vehicle

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Allow extra time for travel due to increased traffic and congestion.
  • Stay alert and give driving your full attention.
  • Show courtesy to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists and don’t drive aggressively.
  • Comply with traffic laws and heed all traffic signs, signals, and markings.
  • Make sure all passengers are using seat belts and car seats properly.
  • Make sure to have an emergency kit in your car with jumper cables, snacks, bottled water, and seasonally appropriate items like blankets and sand, or cat litter.
  • Be especially careful in work zones and remember to always pull over one lane (if safely possible) or reduce speeds when emergency or service vehicles are on the shoulder.
  • Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear U.S. DOT-approved helmets. Drivers must wear eye protection, as well.

Other information for safe travel on the roads is available from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration or  AAA Mid-Atlantic. For information about safety on Maryland toll roads, bridges, and tunnels, please visit the Maryland Transportation AuthorityMDOT SHA also has motorcycle safety tips. For safety tips related to large commercial vehicles and intercity (non-transit) buses, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Safety tips when traveling by taxi or rideshare

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Ask ahead for the typical price and tipping range.
  • Call for a taxi instead of hailing one.
  • If using a shared ride service like Uber, Lyft, Curb, or Via, make sure you verify the correct driver before getting into the car.
  • Look for a meter, a radio, a badge, and a door handle.
  • Sit in the backseat – not in the passenger seat.
  • Keep expensive items hidden and keep your things close.

Here are taxi safety tips from the Travel Insurance Review and here is a link to the taxi riders’ consumer bill of rights from the Maryland Public Service Commission.  Safety.com offers these tips for those using rideshare services, which often are not regulated in the same way as a taxi service.

Safety tips when traveling by air

  • If you see something, say something. 
  • Go to your nearest airport employee and let them know what you’ve seen or heard.
  • Be on time, allow time to get through the security checkpoint and build in time for possible schedule changes.
  • Always stay alert and watch your bags and belongings.
  • Don’t let anyone but uniformed airline personnel handle your bags.
  • If you need help navigating the airport, check with the information desks or airport or airline employees.
  • Be aware of what can and cannot be carried with your carry-on bags and luggage.

Other information for safe air travel can be found from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Transportation Security Administration.

Safety tips when traveling by railroad

  • If you see something, say something.
  • Go to your nearest train station employee and let them know what you’ve seen or heard.
  • Always stay alert and watch your bags and belongings.
  • Watch your step when boarding and leaving the train and moving from car to car.
  • Never attempt to board or exit a moving train.
  • Make sure you familiarize yourself with the safety card found in most seatbacks.
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before your train is due to depart. Some stations require additional time.
  • Report any suspicious behavior to police, station personnel, Amtrak Police or by calling 1-800-331-0008.

More information about intercity rail travel safety can be found from Amtrak or the Amtrak Police. The Federal Railroad Administration has information for motorists and pedestrians at railroad crossings.

Safety tips when using public transportation (bus, subway, light rail, commuter rail)

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Check schedules ahead of time and leave sufficient time to make appropriate connections.
  • Download apps that allow you to check arrival times and pay fares.
  • Always keep jewelry and other valuables out of sight and if your pocket is picked, yell out immediately to warn others. Don’t be afraid to shout. Tell the train or bus operator and request the police.
  • Pay particular attention to your electronics, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers.
  • Use caution when on rail platforms and at bus drop-offs, especially when surfaces are wet or icy.

Here are some safety tips from the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates the bus, commuter bus, subway and light rail system in the Baltimore area and MARC commuter trains; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration, which operates Metro bus and rail service in the Washington, D.C. area.

Safety tips for pedestrians

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Always stop at the curb and look left, right and left before crossing a street and watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
  • Wear light or bright-colored clothing or reflective items, especially after sunset.
  • Pay attention and take off headphones while walking – no texting or playing games.

The MDOT State Highway Administration has more safety tips for pedestrians, as does the Federal Highway Administration.

Safety tips for cyclists

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs.
  • Ride defensively – expect the unexpected.
  • Ride with traffic, never against it.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Never ride more than two abreast.
  • Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
  • Wear a helmet correctly.

MDOT SHA has additional bicycle safety tips, as does the Federal Highway Administration.

Safety tips for traveling on the water

Whether piloting your own recreational boats or traveling on a passenger vessel (cruise ship or ferry), here are some important safety tips:

  • Know Before You Go.
  • Never allow passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seatbacks, or other spots where they might fall overboard.
  • Wear your engine cut-off switch lanyard and your life jacket at ALL times. If the lanyard is removed from the switch, the engine will not shut off.
  • Children under 13 must wear a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length.
  • For maximum safety, ALL persons on recreational boats should wear approved Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs).
  • On passenger’s vessels, follow all safety directions, read prepared safety material, and participate in all life safety drills.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has specific information for recreational boats traveling in Maryland waters, including kayaks and rowboats.. The United States Coast Guard also has boater safety information. The Maryland Port Administration has information for people traveling out of the Baltimore cruise ship terminal. The Cruise Critic also has some tips for traveling safely on cruise ships.


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