Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
2009-010 10 p.m.

Jan. 27, 2009

Motorists urged to avoid travel; VDOT crews continue snow operations

CULPEPER – Freezing rain and sleet continues to fall across Central Virginia at this hour, creating hazardous driving conditions that are expected to continue into Wednesday morning. Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation will continue working all night, treating the roads with sand and salt and plowing the surface when needed.

East Rio Road near Melbourne Road in Albemarle County is closed due to a utility pole that was knocked down by a vehicle. The road is barricaded at Melbourne Road and traffic is being turned back at that location. The road is expected to be closed for most of the night and motorists should use alternate routes.

Even after roads have been plowed and treated with chemicals and abrasives motorists should continue to drive with caution, reduce speed and allow extra room between their vehicle and others on the roads. Motorists are strongly urged to avoid unnecessary travel overnight.

Hazardous driving conditions are most likely as temperatures fall below freezing Tuesday evening and overnight into Wednesday. Precipitation is predicted to continue through the night with possible accumulations of sleet and freezing rain on road surfaces before temperatures warm on Wednesday. Motorists should be particularly careful on bridges, overpasses, turn lanes, ramps and intersections, as well as roads at higher elevations and in the western areas of Central Virginia.

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
  • 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 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.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012