Drivers planning their routes through summer construction traffic also should prepare their cars for heat and pay attention to the road, travel experts say.
"Take a five-minute walk around your car," said Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar, explaining that summer heat can often hurt radiator hoses. "Just a small repair now can prevent a real headache down the road."
Also check your tires and air conditioning, AAA Mid-Atlantic's John Townsend advised. Make sure you have an emergency kit for the side of the road, as well as extra coolant, he said.
"If your car begins to overheat and you don't stop in time, you can destroy your engine in just a few minutes," Townsend said. "This heat will take a tremendous toll on cars."
Experts also warn that drivers should pay attention and drive slowly through construction zones, with no texting or talking on the phone.
"It should be your No. 1 concern," Townsend said. "The last thing you need to do when you're going through those areas is be distracted. That's a recipe for disaster."
Northern Virginia leaders have been pushing their "Orange Cones, No Phones" campaign as crews gear up for round-the-clock work on building the tolled express lanes on Interstate 95. A recent survey done by AAA and the company building the lanes, Transurban-Fluor, found that nearly one in five I-95 drivers text while driving.
"Taking your attention away from the road is dangerous under any condition, but it is exceptionally dangerous in a constantly changing construction zone," said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton. - Liz Essley