No fatalities reported on MD roads this weekend
In what might be the most amazing development of the snowy weekend, nobody died on the state's roads, according to Maryland Highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen.
The typical weekend on Maryland's roads yield several deaths, but the massive snowstorm that buried the region apparently motivated motorists to drive especially carefully.
"Drivers have been patient. They have been careful," said state Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley.
Whether Maryland drivers can keep up that streak for long is questionable. Driving speeds on the state's highways were up markedly today as some motorists mistook improved conditions for normal.
Pedersen noted that the roads remain extremely dangerous. In many places, dry pavement is interspersed with wet spots or patches of hard-packed snow. As temperatures drop below 25 degrees tonight, he warned, deadly black ice will form on road surfaces.
The highway chief also noted that interchanges and ramps are still danger spots. In many cases, lanes can end abruptly in a bank of snow.
High mounds of snow -- 6-8 feet deep in some cases -- impede visibility. Motorists on main streets need to approach each side street or driveway with a snowpile blocking the view as if another driver is about to lurch out.
"I ask that drivers be very careful -- that they not drive too fast for conditions," Pedersen said.
Conditions are also treacherous for pedestrians walking along roads where the sidewalks are buried under feet of snow. It would be prudent of them to face the flow of traffic, while drivers need to slow down while passing them.
My observation from driving the roads of northern Anne Arundel County and Howard County today is that anyone driving the speed limit is going too fast for the conditions out there. It's unlikely to be much improved Tuesday before the next snowstorm rolls in. When that snow falls, it's likely the hard-packed snow from the weekend's storm will still be under it.