Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Feb. 22, 2013
DRIVERS CAUTIONED AS WINTER STORM APPROACHES
VDOT crews on duty; motorists may encounter rapidly changing conditions Friday
CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation is encouraging motorists to monitor weather and road conditions on Friday as another winter storm bears down on Piedmont Virginia.
A wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is forecast to begin early this morning and continue through the day Friday and overnight before ending on Saturday. Western parts of VDOT’s Culpeper District, particularly the counties along the Blue Ridge Mountains, are most likely to see wintry precipitation during the storm. Temperatures are forecast to remain near freezing through the day so conditions may change rapidly.
Motorists are strongly urged to check weather and highway conditions in their area before driving on Friday. If slick road conditions are reported along their travel route VDOT advises them to consider delaying travel to avoid driving during the time when snow, sleet or freezing rain is forecast. Slick conditions are most likely during the early morning hours, especially on bridge decks, ramps and turn lanes.
VDOT crews have been on duty since midnight. On Thursday, VDOT crews applied salt brine to highways at higher elevations, including sections of Interstate 64 and I-66, in anticipation of the storm. As precipitation begins VDOT crews will treat the roads with a mixture of sand and salt. The sand increases traction and the salt helps melt snow and ice and prevent it from bonding to the road surface.
Even after roads are treated, sleet and freezing rain are extremely hazardous and motorists should observe the following precautions:
• Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges
• Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road
• Do not pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary.
Drivers should also check VDOT’s 511 travel website, www.511virginia.org, before leaving on a trip. The website is updated in real time with weather and road conditions for all highways in Virginia. Once on the road VDOT’s 511 mobile app provides real-time traffic and weather information for both iPhone and Android platforms. Travelers can also call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for real-time information on traffic and road conditions.
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 online at www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.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.