Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
March 1, 2009
VDOT CREWS RESPONDING TO WINTER STORM
Heavy snow, high winds expected to continue overnight; motorists urged to avoid travel
Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation are on duty across Central Virginia and will work all night to respond to the winter storm. Roads will be treated with a mix of sand and salt to improve traction and help melt the snow. Once some snow has accumulated and melted into slush the snowplows can push the slush off the pavement.
VDOT will concentrate on the interstate and primary highways that carry the highest traffic volumes. Once those roads are in good condition the crews will shift to the local, secondary roads and work to clear them.
Weather forecasts are still predicting a significant snow storm overnight that will likely create hazardous driving conditions. High winds will compound the hazard, creating blowing and drifting snow and lowering visibility. Temperatures are rapidly dipping below freezing across Virginia, meaning that motorists are likely to encounter slick conditions during travel overnight.
VDOT advises motorists to avoid all non-essential travel during the storm. Motorists who must travel overnight should be aware of the possibility of freezing conditions and black ice during the night and early morning hours, particularly on bridges and overpasses, entrance and exit ramps and crossovers as well as roads at higher elevations. If you must drive, 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.
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.