1. Be the SOBER driver
Impaired driving contributes to about one-third of Maryland’s annual highway fatalities. In 2021, take advantage of many options available to avoid getting behind the wheel impaired, including: staying sober, calling a friend, or making a plan through a ride share service or public transportation.
2. Use the MDOT MVA First Stop Tool
MDOT MVA is still operating under an appointment only model until further notice, but there are many transactions customers can complete from the comfort and safety of home, including registration renewal, ordering duplicate driving products and change of address. MDOT MVA’s First Stop tool, which launched this year, provides customers with a customized dashboard of transactions they are eligible to complete online.
3. Be the SLOW DOWN driver
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement and highway safety experts have seen an increase in speed statewide. Traveling at high speed increases the risks of getting into a crash resulting in serious injury or a fatality. It is also important to remember that speed limits are set for ideal conditions, so adjust accordingly in inclement weather.
4. Ensure Your Vehicle is Road Ready
Drivers should make sure their vehicle is in good working condition before getting behind the wheel. Make sure you have properly inflated tires, plenty of windshield washer fluid, belts and hoses in good condition, a filled radiator, a good spare tire, enough fuel and an engine with no known malfunctions. Motorists are also encouraged to have an emergency kit in their vehicle including reflective triangles, a flashing warning light, flashlight, jumper cables, temporary flat tire repair, a blanket, water and a reflective vest. In the event of a crash or car trouble, be sure to pull your vehicle as far off the road as possible and, if it is safe to do so, stay in the car – buckled up – while waiting for help to arrive.
5. Check for Open Recalls
Take vehicle prep one step further by correcting potential issues before they surface. Roughly 480,000 vehicles on Maryland roads have an open safety recall. During a recent pilot program, MDOT MVA discovered the most common vehicle recalls in the state relate to airbags, seat belts and electrical systems – all of which could increase the risk of a crash and/or the risk of serious injury. Open recalls can easily be checked with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and are free to repair at an authorized dealer. MDOT MVA sends recall notifications with bi-annual vehicle registrations, but customers can also check here. From 2018-2020, MDOT MVA has helped customers remedy more than 376,000 vehicle safety recalls throughout the state.
6. Be the BUCKLED-UP driver
Seat belts are proven to be the first and best defense to save a life in a crash. In 2021, be the driver who resolves to make sure EVERY person in the vehicle is buckled up, EVERY ride.
7. Be the FOCUSED driver
Driving takes your full attention. While cell phone use is a main contributor to distracted driving, other actions can be just as distracting, such as eating, applying makeup, tending to children or other passengers, and even changing radio stations.
8. Get Your REAL ID
October 1, 2021, is the deadline for the federal requirement to obtain a REAL ID. More than 72% of Marylanders are already REAL ID compliant, and getting a REAL ID can be quick and easy once you gather the required documents. To learn more and find out if you are REAL ID compliant, visit the REAL ID Lookup Tool. Then gather your documents, make an appointment on the MDOT MVA website and visit a local branch to get your REAL ID.
9. Be the SHARE THE ROAD driver
Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians share a responsibility to ensure every person arrives at their destination safely. Drivers are reminded to stop for pedestrians and remain vigilant in high pedestrian traffic areas, especially with less daylight hours.
10. Be the LOOK TWICE driver
Cars are surrounded by blind spots which can make it difficult to see motorcycles. Drivers should signal their intention and look twice before switching lanes, giving motorcyclists ample time to react. Motorcyclists are also reminded to practice safe riding behaviors and never ride impaired. Additionally, to keep police and other emergency responders safe, drivers are reminded to look twice and MOVE OVER if it is safe to do so or slow down when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle using its visual signals.
The MDOT MVA Highway Safety Office wishes Marylanders and all travelers a safe and happy 2021. For more tips and resources for staying safe on Maryland roads, or to learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office, visit ZeroDeathsMD.gov or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.