VSP & VDOT Ask Motorists To Prepare For Snow
Kelly Hannon of the Virginia Department of Transportation and Corinne N. Geller of the Virginia State Police are asking folks to prepare for the upcoming snow that is headed our way.
Hannon reports a wintry mix of rain and snow is forecast to affect portions of the Fredericksburg area this afternoon and evening, which may reduce driver visibility and cause road conditions to quickly deteriorate.
Drivers are asked to closely monitor news and weather reports before starting a trip. Travelers are encouraged to check 511Virginia.org for real-time road conditions from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in their area.
Geller said the VSP is advising, “With Virginia experiencing a wide range of inclement winter weather today (Jan. 7), the Virginia State Police is encouraging all drivers to be prepared and to drive for conditions.”
Geller reported, “The snowfall along the Interstate 81 corridor has caused numerous traffic crashes, with the majority of them involving only damage to vehicles. There have been no reported traffic fatalities.”
However, Virginians are still advised by the VSP to do the following if traveling today:
· Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, as well as helps other drivers see you better. Also, it’s a state law that if the windshield wipers are active, then headlights must be on.
· Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during storms, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
· Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
· Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during winter weather are caused by vehicles sliding into guardrails, off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
· Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
· Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.
Hannon reported, VDOT crews have mobilized in the Fredericksburg area with trucks in position to treat roads with sand and salt to reduce icing and improve traction. Crews will begin plowing once 2 inches of snow has accumulated on the road surface.
Trucks carrying treatment materials will circulate first on Interstate 95 and interstate ramps, primary roads and key secondary roads to respond to any icy or hazardous road conditions that develop.
VDOT advises motorists to be alert for potentially slick road conditions. If necessary, travelers should be prepared to adjust travel plans.
Plan to allow extra travel time, reduce your speed, wear your seat belt, and increase following distance between vehicles. Use additional caution while traveling on bridges, ramps and overpasses, which freeze first due to lower surface temperatures, as well as on roads carrying lighter traffic volumes.
Real-Time Road Conditions
Drivers are encouraged to check 511Virginia before starting a trip for real-time information about road conditions in Virginia.
Online Snowplow Tracker
VDOT’s online snowplow tracker at vdotplows.org will be activated once 2 inches or more of snow has accumulated on state-maintained roads in the Fredericksburg District.
Residents can enter their address to see the status of snow plowing in their neighborhood.
VDOT Customer Service Center
VDOT’s Customer Service Center is open 24 hours a day to answer questions and take reports of roadway hazards at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov.
Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.
Photo: Colonial Beach, Snow in January of 2019.