Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 15, 2010
VDOT CREWS PREPARE FOR WINTER WEATHER IN CENTRAL VA.
Forecast Calls for Light Snow Early Thursday; Motorists Urged to Drive Cautiously
CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation is preparing for a snow event that is forecast to drop up to one inch of snow overnight in the Northern Piedmont region. Central Virginia is predicted to get up to two inches of snow, with slightly more to the east toward Richmond.
Crews are readying equipment for the storm, which is expected to begin early Thursday and continue through the day. Depending upon temperatures the snow may change to sleet or freezing rain before turning to rain during the day Thursday.
VDOT advises motorists to drive cautiously Thursday morning since the road surfaces are below freezing and snow will lay on the pavement once it begins falling, creating a slick surface.
Crews in the nine counties of VDOT’s Culpeper District will be on duty beginning at midnight Wednesday. When the storm begins trucks will spread abrasives to increase traction and salt to help prevent the snow from bonding to the road surface. Crews will focus 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. Call 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) to report road hazards or ask transportation-related questions.
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/statewide/2010/virginia_ready_for_severe49569.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.