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Holiday Travel & Winter Safety Press Conference

Wednesday November 27th


AAA Northern New England will host an interactive press conference along with Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Turnpike Authority, Maine Bureau of Highway Safety and Maine State Police to raise awareness for safety for all road users during the holiday and winter season.

Who:                   Pat Moody Director of Public Affairs AAA Northern New England
                             Paul Merrill Maine Department of Transportation
                             Erin Courtney Maine Turnpike Authority
                             Jamie Dionne Maine Bureau of Highway Safety
                             Bruce Scott Maine State Police                           

When:                 Wednesday November 27, 2019
                            10 a.m.

Where:               Maine Department of Transportation Scarborough
                            51 Pleasant Hill Rd, Scarborough, ME 04074

What:                  Each of the respective presenters will be available for individual interviews after the media event and showcase their  area of expertise. There will be a plow truck demonstration and vehicle maintenance demonstration on tires and battery care. The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety will also announce a new program aimed at reducing impaired driving during the holidays and the MTA will speak to travel congestion and road construction that motorists should be aware of.

Contact:              Pat Moody, AAA
                            (207) 838-8957

This winter, Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Turnpike Authority, Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, Maine State Police and AAA Northern New England are urging all road users to use caution as winter conditions approach and we spend time celebrating with friends and family during the holiday season. 

Thanksgiving week generally marks the beginning of the winter driving season in Maine, and it also is one of the heaviest traffic weeks of the year. In fact, AAA estimates that this Thanksgiving holiday period will have the second highest volume of travelers on record with over 55 million Americans traveling over the holiday period and nearly 90% will be traveling by automobile.

Winter Driving & Walking

Each year, the region’s first snowfall brings a rash of crashes to Maine’s roads as drivers reacquaint themselves with winter conditions.  We urge users to plan ahead, slow down in adverse driving conditions, give plow trucks plenty of room, and prepare your car and yourself for the challenges New England weather brings. 

Maine’s snowiest month is January, but crash statistics show that there are more winter-weather related crashes in December than any other month. In fact, even though Maine experiences winter weather into the month of March, winter-weather related crashes continue to decline each month from December into March.

Speed is often the major cause of winter-weather related crashes. Drivers need to slow down since stopping on ice or snow requires extra time and distance. Drive safely below the speed limit so you don’t have brake suddenly, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. 

Motorists and pedestrians should never assume a snowplow driver can see them. Snowplow drivers have limited sight distances, with the wing blades of the vehicle obscuring their side views. The size and weight of snowplows make it very difficult to maneuver and stop quickly. Snow blowing from behind the plow can severely reduce visibility or cause whiteout conditions. Motorists should not attempt to pass snowplows or follow too closely. The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted

We know that winters in Maine can coat our sidewalks and roads with everything from sleet and ice to snow. With shorter days and much less light during commuting times, pedestrians and bicyclists should be as visible as possible, and should wear bright, reflective clothing as well as lights if possible.  Further, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that high snow banks create poor sight lines for motorists.  Use care when stepping out to cross a street and make sure that motorists can see you from behind any piled snow.  Finally, remember is it always safest to walk facing traffic when walking in the roadway.

Motorists should also make sure their car is ready for winter driving by checking their tires, wiper blades, battery and clearing the car of any snow before traveling. Also, pack an emergency kit and keep it in the vehicle so it will be there when needed.

Don’t Drive Intoxicated Don’t Drive Intexticated

Thanksgiving also begins the season of cheer and celebration which often results lives changed or ended due to impaired driving. “Blackout Wednesday” and “Drinksgiving” are terms associated with heavy alcohol consumption during the holiday period and “Danksgiving” refers to the consumption of marijuana during the holiday period. Remember if you feel different, you drive different … buzzed driving is impaired driving. Make a transportation plan ahead of time if you plan on consuming an impairing substance.

With snow soon to be in the forecast, Maine’s highway safety partners want drivers and pedestrians to be prepared, be responsible, take it slow and be safe on Maine’s wintry roads this year.

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © AAA Northern New England. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Northern New England is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.