RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia State Police are encouraging residents across the state to be prepared as Tropical Storm Ophelia makes its way toward the Commonwealth.
The severity of the storm is not yet known but a number of regions across central and eastern Virginia have been issued flood warnings and tropical storm warnings.
“Virginia State Police have all available troopers and supervisors working through this evening and the weekend as the storm makes it through the Metro-Richmond region, Middle Peninsula and the Northern Neck,” a spokesperson with the agency said. “To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, if possible.”
Virginia State Police have issued the following reminders for those having to travel during the storm:
- Slow your speed. Police said slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid obstacles like downed trees and/or debris in the roadway, decreasing the likelihood of crashes. A spokesperson said drivers should “drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.”
- Turn Around. Don’t Drown. Drivers should avoid driving through standing water. What looks like a puddle can be deep and swift-moving water. Police recommend turning around and finding another, safer route to your destination.
- Don’t tailgate. Police said increased stopping distance is necessary during wet conditions. Give yourself more space and avoid rear-end collisions.
- Use headlights. Increasing your vision helps you to see obstacles earlier and make better-informed decisions while driving. Headlights will also increase your own visibility to other drivers.
- Buckle Up. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and receiving serious injuries in a crash.
- Put down your phone. Virginia State Police say driving in heavy rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as it can increase the likelihood of a crash.
- Check Your Vehicle. Police recommend checking your vehicle before you drive. This includes filling up with gas in advance, checking windshield wipers, tire treads, battery life and more.
For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website.
“Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency,” a release from Virginia State Police reads. “It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.”