Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Jan. 8, 2010
MAJOR HIGHWAYS CLEAR ACROSS PIEDMONT VIRGINIA
Motorists Should Drive Carefully, Expect Slick Conditions on Secondary Roads
CULPEPER — Major highways across Central and Piedmont Virginia are clear of snow but motorists should remain cautious and drive carefully, particularly during the early morning hours. The dusting of snow that fell overnight left most roads wet, although primary roads in Louisa, Fluvanna, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties are reported in minor condition with patches of snow on the road surfaces.
Motorists are urged to reduce their speed and increase following distance since they may encounter slick conditions, particularly on secondary roads. Freezing conditions and black ice are most likely to be found on bridges and overpasses, entrance and exit ramps and crossovers as well as roads at higher elevations.
Crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation have been 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. VDOT’s crews focused their snow-removal efforts first on the interstates and primary highways and move to the secondary system as conditions warrant.
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.