Wintry Weather Hits Roads

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

December 14, 2005

The third storm of the season is quickly approaching and with it comes the risk of dangerous driving conditions. The City and County are already preparing for road closures.

Starting in Charlottesville, emergency crews are standing by ready to salt, sand and plow--but the counties may be taking action earlier.

"One thing we try to do with ice and sleet and freezing rain is we do try to get out in advance of it a little bit more because you don't want to actually get that stuff on the surface without anything down to help with traction and to help with melting, especially as cold as it's going to be," said Lou Hatter of VDOT.

Very cold, we're talking twenties, making roads even colder and icier.

"If the air temperature is 15 or 20 degrees you know the road temperature is going to be below freezing so anything that falls is going to stick," said Hatter.

When it sticks it makes driving difficult for everyone, especially Joseph Mills who lives on back roads in Albemarle County.

"Probably most of the problems that I've had are those little under-passes and shady spots where the sun doesn't quite get to the ice and if you're not careful you can slide right through the curbs," said Mills.

Shoppers usually pick-up last minute items like ice melts before a snowfall, but sometimes that's not enough.

"I live in the country so it's...kind of futile to do that sort of stuff if you live at the end of a gravel road so I use the four-wheel drive," said Mills.

Whether you use four-wheel drive or not make sure you drive slowly and allow extra time when you leave the house and for braking because ice on the road can be dangerous. In fact there are still pockets left over from the last storm.

VDOT checks road conditions with scouts, remote sensors, and by monitoring the air temperature.

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