​Hot Summer Temperatures Can Leave Drivers Stranded on the Side of the Road

(May 18, 2022) - With vehicle travel nearing pre-pandemic levels and the start of the summer travel season approaching, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is recommending that drivers check their vehicles’ essential systems to prevent mechanical breakdowns. A simple “Five-Minute Walkaround” can potentially save hundreds or thousands of dollars in vehicle repairs.

“Each year, we see vehicle breakdowns during the hot days of summer that could have been avoided with a simple check prior to a trip,” said MDOT SHA Chief Operating Officer Andre Futrell.  “A vehicle check only takes a few minutes and can help avoid costly repairs and keep you on the road.”

In 2021, MDOT SHA highway response technicians provided nearly 36,000 motorist assists, most of them due to vehicle mechanical breakdowns. Common sense preventative maintenance can provide a level of vehicle protection for drivers who are preparing to travel by motor vehicle during the hot summer months.

Check the following essential vehicle systems:

  • Tires. Ensure there is adequate tire tread and no apparent defects. Also make sure tire pressure is at the appropriate level.   
  • Cooling system. Check the condition of cooling hoses and that there are no radiator leaks. An easy way to check on this is to put a piece of plain brown cardboard under the radiator for an evening and check the following morning for any leaks.   
  • Essential fluids. Check the levels of engine oil, transmission, power steering and brake fluids.   
  • Vehicle lighting systems. Ensure headlights, tail lights, running lights and turn signals are all operational. See and be seen.   
  • Fuel. Make sure you have adequate fuel (gasoline or diesel) in the tank. For electric vehicles, make sure there’s a full charge before venturing on a trip.

Should a mechanical breakdown occur, motorists should get their vehicle as far out of travel lanes as possible and remain in the vehicle. Drivers can dial #77 for state police assistance.

MDOT SHA works hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones for our crews as well as our customers.  Drivers need to stay alert, focus on driving and, look for reduced speed limits, as well as other driving pattern changes. Please drive like you work here and slow down in construction zones.

For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, go to Project Portal. Visit our homepage at For a look at real-time traffic conditions, go to

Editor’s Note

From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.