Del., Md. Boost Patrols To Make Roads Safe This Holiday Season
Enforcement and education are being stressed in Delaware and Maryland as motorists take to the roads for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Through the holiday season, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety plans to partner with law enforcement agencies to increase patrols searching for signs of impaired driving. While the number of DUI-related accidents in Delaware have been trending downward in the past three years, three lives were lost last year in DUI-related crashes during the 2020 winter holiday season.
“The holidays are known for being merry and bright, but they’re also known for being one of the deadliest seasons when it comes to drunk driving. Every holiday season, lives are lost due to impaired drivers,” Delaware Office of Highway Safety Director Kimberly Chesser said.
Also, citizens will be asked to do their part by keeping themselves and their guests out of situations that could lead someone to get behind the week impaired.
- Before drinking, plan a safe and sober ride home, such as a designated driver, ordering a ride through your phone, or by calling a cab.
- Don’t let someone get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
- If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all your guests have a sober ride home.
- If you see an impaired driver, call 911. And always wear your seat belt — it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
Safety tips from Delaware State Police:
By following these easy steps, a driver can enjoy safe holiday travel without jeopardizing their life or the lives of others on the road:
- Ensure all occupants are properly restrained.
- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
- Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys. If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk or aggressive driver on the road, immediately contact 911 as soon as safely possible.
- If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Delaware State Police would also like to remind motorists of the following safety tips:
- Plan your trip before you embark on your journey.
- Have your car checked by a mechanic. Make sure all fluid levels are checked and your vehicle is in top running condition.
- Take a break every two hours on long trips and take turns driving. Studies have shown that weary drivers are just as much a threat as drunk drivers are on our highways.
- Don’t let your children go to a rest stop alone. When taking a break, always accompany your children to the rest area facilities.
As you begin traveling this holiday we would like to cover a few safety tips to keep you and your family safe.
- DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE RUNNING AND UNATTENDED.
- Be aware of the current road conditions.
- Park in a well-lit and well-traveled areas.
- Keep your car’s doors locked at all times.
- Don’t use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
- Don’t place your baggage or other valuables in a place where criminals can easily see them.
- Park as close as you can to your destination and always remember to turn off your car, lock and remove your keys when exiting.
- When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings and never carry a large amount of cash or valuables.
- Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
- Don’t drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking
While at your destination
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.
- Be able to describe your exact location in an emergency situation.
- Teach your child to go and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
- Teach children to stay close to you at all times.
- Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
- Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone or should never be left alone in a car.
- If you’ve had something stolen or have been the victim of a crime, it’s important to report the incident immediately by calling 911.
Added crime prevention tips while you are away from home.
-Remember to place your mail, packages, and newspaper on hold. Criminals notice when the mail piles up or newspapers are scattered on the lawn. Criminals know this is a good indication that you are out of town.
-Place your lights, televisions, and radios on timers. This provides the image that someone is home. Be sure to close all blinds to ensure a potential criminal does not have the ability to peer inside your residence and monitor activity.
-Be sure to lock all doors, windows, garage doors, storage sheds, vehicles, and gates prior to leaving your residence.
-Remember to set your security alarm system if you have one. Test your system prior to leaving, to ensure it is functioning correctly. Ensure your personal contact information is also up-to-date; to ensure your alarm monitoring company has the ability to reach you.
-Have a close trustworthy friend or relative check on your residence while you are away.
-As excited as you may be to update your friends about your travel on social media, you may strongly wish to reconsider. Remember, anyone that is able to access your social media profile, will gain insight that you are away. Potential criminals pay attention to these details and could attempt to break into your home.
Safety tips from the Maryland Department of Emergency Management:
Experts say travel is returning to near pre-pandemic levels for both holiday and regular day-to-day travel, and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) wants to make sure you are as safe as possible as you move around. MDEM’s Annual Maryland Travel Safety Week is an effort to ensure that residents are equipped with the latest travel safety information as we approach what is normally the busiest travel week of the year. MDEM would like travelers to remember three things:
- Know Before You Go.
- If You See Something, Say Something.
- Be aware of COVID-19 restrictions that may still be in place where you travel.
“As more people travel to be with family and friends this holiday season, it is important to remember to be aware of your surroundings,” said MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “Some of us may be visiting places we have not been to in a while and might be using modes of transportation we haven’t used recently. It is important to remain alert so you can have a safe, hassle free visit.”
MDEM designated November 21-27 as Maryland Travel Safety Week in preparation of the beginning of holiday travel to encourage safe travel all year on all modes of transportation. MDEM encourages travelers to learn about safe travel practices whether using roads, air, or rail, and as pedestrians and bike riders. You should also be aware of safety at various types of lodgings and at gatherings.
MDEM encourages Marylanders to review some of these simple practices recommended by safety specialists covering a variety of transportation methods.
Know Before You Go — Do not leave your house for travel uninformed, unprepared, and hoping to learn about travel conditions and your destination while enroute. Check on road and traffic conditions along your route; check for last minute delays or cancellations before heading to the airport or train station; always check local weather forecasts to make sure you pack appropriate clothing and prepare for potential travel delays.
If You See Something, Say Something — If you see a suspicious activity, device or package; or if you overhear a suspicious conversation, report it immediately to a facility manager, carrier employee, or law enforcement. If you see accidents or hazards along the roadway or hiking/biking trails, make sure to alert local law enforcement, highway officials, or parks employees so it can be removed.
COVID-19 Restrictions — Different communities and businesses have different pandemic travel restrictions related to vaccination status, test results, face coverings and distancing. Have electronic and/or paper copies of your COVID-19 vaccination records and pack extra face coverings for all family members to use where required. Remember that federal regulations require masks in all passenger airports and aircraft.
General COVID-19 travel safety tips
- Do not travel if you are sick, with someone else who is sick, or if you have been around anyone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Bring additional antiseptic wipes or hand sanitizer, but beware of the size restrictions of liquid containers that can be carried onto a commercial airplane.
- Maintain required distancing based on the regulation for the air, rail, or bus provider.
- COVID-19 may impact the amount of passengers, capacity of terminals and airport screening areas, and the availability of certain facilities, so factor this into your travel time.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has COVID-19 safety tips for traveling and general information.
Safety tips when traveling by motor vehicle
- 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 in many states. Drivers must wear eye protection as well. Check regulations where you will be travelling.
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 Authority. MDOT SHA also has motorcycle safety tips. For safety tips related to large commercial vehicles and intercity (non-transit) busses, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Safety tips when travelling by taxi or rideshare
- 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 or Lyft, 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.
Safety tips when travelling by air
- 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/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
- 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 seat backs.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)
- 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 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration, which operates Metro bus and rail service in the Washington, D.C. area. Here are anti-theft tips from the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates bus, subway, and light rail service in the Baltimore metro area.
Safety tips for pedestrians
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
- Always stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again before crossing a street and watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
- Wear light or bright colored clothing or reflective items, especially before sunrise and 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
- 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.
- Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
- Wear a helmet correctly.
Safety tips for travelling on the water
Whether piloting your own recreational boats, or travelling on a passenger vessel (cruise ship or ferry), here are some important safety tips:
- Check weather forecasts for approaching fronts or storm watches. By the time a storm or gale warning is issued, it might be too late to get to a safe harbor.
- Never allow passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, 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 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 travelling 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 travelling out of the Baltimore cruise ship terminal. The Cruise Critic also has some tips for travelling safely on cruise ships.
Safety tips for lodging facilities (hotels, motels, resorts, short-term, and vacation rentals)
- Stay in facilities that have hard-wired smoke alarms and an automatic fire sprinkler system in each guest room.
- Read the fire evacuation plan carefully.
- Find the two closest exits from your room.
- Count the number of doors between your room and the exits. This will assist you if you need to evacuate in the dark.
- Find the fire alarms on your floor.
- If the rental is a vacation or private home, make sure the facility has dead bolt locks on all doors, locking windows, and appropriate fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide alarms.
- If a vacation or private home rental has a swimming pool, make sure someone is observing all swimmers and that proper safety equipment is available.
- Know the cancellation policy when making a reservation.