Lou Hatter 434-422-9866
Jan. 30, 2010
VDOT ISSUES TRAVEL WARNING AS SNOW BEGINS ACROSS PIEDMONT
Hazardous driving conditions expected across much of Va. during winter storm
CULPEPER — Snow is falling across Central Virginia and roads are covered with a light dusting at this hour in Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Fluvanna and Louisa counties. Snow has not yet begun falling to the north but is expected to begin within the next several hours. Much of Virginia is expected to see snow today, with the highest accumulations to the south and less snow in the central and northern parts of the state.
Travel is likely to be hazardous during the storm and the Virginia Department of Transportation is urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel today. Due to the extremely cold temperatures the snow is accumulating rapidly and will create slick conditions on all roads. If travel is essential drivers should allow extra time for their trip, reduce their speed and increase following distance from other vehicles.
Crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation have been working all night preparing for the storm. As the snow begins crews are 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 they 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.
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.