Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Jan. 7, 2010
MOTORISTS URGED TO DRIVE CAUTIOUSLY OVERNIGHT
VDOT Crews on Duty as Snow Spreads Across Piedmont Virginia
CULPEPER — Motorists who must travel overnight Thursday are urged to drive with caution and expect to encounter slick conditions as snow continues to fall across Piedmont Virginia. Roads are reported wet but clear of new snow through most of the region, although primary roads in Fauquier and Rappahannock counties are reported in minor condition, with some patches of snow on the roadway. Route 3 in Culpeper County and Routes 20 and 522 in Orange County are also reported in minor condition.
Crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation will be working all night, 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 the crews 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.
Forecasts call for the region to receive one to two inches of snow from the storm, but VDOT urges motorists to reduce their speed and increase following distance while driving overnight in case they encounter slippery conditions. Moisture on the roads may also refreeze overnight as temperatures drop well below freezing. As the storm ends early Friday winds are forecast to increase, which may cause blowing and drifting snow that can limit visibility and leave roads slippery.
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.
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.