Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 8, 2009
MOTORISTS ADVISED TO USE CAUTION OVERNIGHT
Rain expected across much of Central Va. but icing may be a hazard in some locations
CULPEPER – The Virginia Department of Transportation is patrolling highways in the western and northern regions of Central Virginia overnight Tuesday. While the forecast is calling for rain across the Culpeper District and icy conditions limited to the Shenandoah Valley, temperatures will be near freezing Tuesday night and early Wednesday and motorists should drive with caution and be alert for slick patches.
Conditions favorable for icing are most likely to occur on roads in the western part of the region near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Motorists should decrease their speed and anticipate slick conditions, particularly on bridge decks, entrance and exit ramps and roads at high elevations such as the mountain passes on Interstate 64 and Route 250 in Albemarle County, Route 33 in Greene, Route 211 and Route 522 in Rappahannock and I-66 and Route 55 in Fauquier.
VDOT applied brine solution on the interstates and high-volume primary highways on Tuesday as part of its anti-icing initiative. Crews will be on duty overnight Tuesday in the western counties near the mountains treating problem areas and responding to any reports of freezing conditions.
VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Crews first clear interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. They will then treat secondary roads and subdivision streets if multi-day storms hit the Virginia, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
• Before you begin your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
Call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org.
• 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.
Information about preparing for winter weather and other emergencies can be found at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the Ready Virginia resource to provide residents with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.
Note to reporters and editors: Additional information about VDOT’s preparations for winter weather, how the agency responds to snow and ice, FAQs and information about the technology and tools VDOT uses in its winter weather response is available on the Web, www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/snowseason.asp
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.