January 30, 2010
The Virginia Department of Transportation warns that travel is likely to be hazardous during the snowstorm and urges residents to avoid unnecessary travel today.
Due to the extremely cold temperatures, the snow is accumulating rapidly and will create slick conditions on all roads. If travel is essential, drivers should allow extra time for their trips, reduce their speed and increase following distance from other vehicles.
Crews with VDOT have been working all night preparing for the storm. As the snow begins, crews are treating the roads with sand to improve traction and salt to help melt the snow and prevent it from bonding to the road surface. As the snow accumulates they will begin plowing. VDOT’s crews will focus their snow-removal efforts first on the interstates and primary highways and move to the secondary system as conditions warrant.
Real-time road conditions and weather forecasts are available on VDOT’s traffic and travel Web site, www.511Virginia.org. The site also has live traffic camera images for many major highways, including Interstate 64, I-66 and Routes 29 and 250 in Central Virginia. Motorists can call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for road and traffic conditions on all major highways in the state.
VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
-- Postpone unnecessary travel until conditions improve. If you must drive, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
-- Make sure your windows, mirrors and lights are clear of ice and snow.
-- Always wear your seat belt.
-- Allow extra time to travel to your destination.
-- Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Also, if there is heavy snow, ice or high winds, be alert to potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees and electric lines.
-- Reduce speed as appropriate and keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and snowplows.
-- Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary.
-- Remember, the plow is clearing a path for you.
-- Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car. The kit should include a small bag of rock salt, sand or cat litter to provide traction in case you get stuck, a snowbrush and ice scraper, a flashlight, battery booster cables, a blanket and extra clothing.
-- Practice common sense. Remember that your car cannot start, stop, or turn as quickly and surely on snow or ice as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly.