What you need to know to ensure smooth travels this holiday season

Posted at 2:23 PM, Nov 20, 2017

HANOVER, MD – Gathering near Southwest’s ticketing counters at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall Airport), Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn and representatives from each of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) six transportation business units kicked off Thanksgiving Week with holiday travel tips.

“MDOT wants you to get to your holiday destinations safely – whether you’re going by plane, train or car, across the state, across the country or just across the street,” Secretary Rahn said.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year and kicks off the holiday travel season.  With more people traveling between Thanksgiving and New Year, the MDOT Team wants to ensure Maryland residents and their visitors arrive at their holiday destinations safely. Representatives from each business unit provided the following Thanksgiving travel tips:

Highway Safety – MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration Maryland Highway Safety Office

  • Driving demands your full attention. Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Drive sober and plan for a sober ride home. Use transit, call a cab or a rideshare service.
  • Always buckle up: every seat, every time, day and night.

Highways – MDOT State Highway Administration

  • Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays. Typically, off-peak hours include:
    • Tuesday and Wednesday -- before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
    • Thursday through Sunday -- before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • If your vehicle becomes disabled, remove the vehicle as far as possible from the travel lanes.
  • Call #77 or 911 in an emergency (when able to safely make the call).
  • Check over your vehicle’s tires and fluids. Pack supplies and an emergency kit.Have a backup plan for an alternate route.
  • To help keep travelers moving safely on Maryland roads, the state is taking the following measures:
    • All planned lane closures have been suspended from Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Monday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m.
    • Maryland’s Emergency Traffic Patrols, sponsored by State Farm, will be assisting motorists in need in designated areas throughout the state.
    • Maryland’s CHART website –[] – includes access to hundreds of cameras, weather information, real-time lane closures and much, much more.

Tolled Highways – Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)

  • Maryland Transportation Authority Police will target impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity.
  • MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles.
  • MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, to 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27.
  • MOVE OVER and SLOW DOWN when approaching emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
  • It Can Wait!  Pull over to call, text or use an electronic device.  In Maryland, having a safe place to call or text is only a rest stop away. 
  • Designated safe zones for texts and calls include the Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas on I-95 and other rest areas across the state.
  • Tesla and Universal Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are available at both the Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas.
  • It’s not too late to pick-up an E-ZPass for Thanksgiving travel. Visit for a complete list of retail locations for E-ZPass On-the-Go.

Air Travel – Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

  • Passengers should be prepared:
    • Be in the airport two hours ahead of scheduled departure.
    • Pack carefully. Check TSA’s website -[] - for what you can/can’t bring through checkpoints.
    • Local motorists picking up arriving family members or friends should either park in the Hourly Garage or use the upper level / departures roadway to avoid possible congestion along the arrivals roadway.

Transit – MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA)

  • Customers are advised that on Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, MDOT MTA will operate on its Holiday Schedule.Visit[] and click on Thanksgiving Day Service.
  • For visitors flying into BWI Airport, MDOT MTA offers easy access to virtually all parts of the region with Light RailLink and BaltimoreLink bus services. And MARC commuter train can get you to Washington, D.C. with several departures and returns per day. For more information on transit to BWI, click here:[].
  • For local riders, BaltimoreLink bus service offers high-frequency, reliable transit throughout the Baltimore region. And all CityLink bus lines provide connections to companion rail modes including Metro SubwayLink, Light RailLink, and MARC commuter rail.

Cruising – Maryland Port Administration – Port of Baltimore:

  • Plan carefully and arrive early at the Cruise Maryland Terminal.
    • Pack warm clothes for when you return from warm beaches to colder weather.
  • Truckers, remember there will be more cars on the roads so plan more time to get to and from the Port of Baltimore during the Thanksgiving weekend.