Howard County motorists urged to stay off the roads

Howard County leaders want motorists to stay off the roads Monday while weather conditions decline.

County Executive Ken Ulman released a statement urging residents not to drive unless it is "absolutely critical."

With strong winds and heavy rain in the area throughout the day you can expect downed trees, standing water, and potential road closures.

County Executive Ulman said "With schools, government offices and many businesses closed, we hope that residents will have little reason to venture out unnecessarily.  By urging residents to stay off the roads, we can ensure that our first responders can more quickly and efficiently respond to emergencies as they arise."

This request carries through the duration of the storm, and Howard County leaders say residents and business owners should also use their best judgment when making the decision to drive.

If you have an emergency and feel you must drive please read our tips for driving in heavy rain.

With heavy rain, here's what you need to know before getting into your car. 

AAA offers these tips of advice.

Go slowly. Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase.

Light up. Use low-beam headlights to help others see your car and increase your visibility. Remember Maryland law requires headlights to be on when windshield wipers are in use.

Be careful of standing and running water. As little as six inches of water on a road can cause most drivers to lose control of their vehicle.

Nearly half of all people who die in flash floods are in cars and have underestimated the power of flood waters or have not acted quickly enough to escape.

Do not drive through moving water or flooded areas. If floodwaters arise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can safely do so. If not, do not open your car doors, stay within your vehicle and call 911.

Be a follower.

Driving in the tracks of other vehicles can improve traction and help avoid hydroplaning.( FULL STORY )

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