VDOT urges drivers to prepare for slick roads ahead of winter storm

Weather

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Transportation is urging drivers to prepare for ‘a range of winter weather’ that is likely to affect Central Virginia beginning Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. 

The latest StormTracker 8 forecast indicates the possibility of significant amounts of sleet, freezing rain, snow and ice falling across the area overnight. 

Crews are pre-treating most major roadways, and VDOT is also coordinating with tree removal and utility companies to prepare for the possibility of downed trees and power lines. 

VDOT will be using a salt and water brine solution that acts as a barrier between the pavement and any ice that forms.

“Once snow and ice fall, roads will be slick and driving conditions may be hazardous,” VDOT said in a release. “When the storm arrives, crews will work around the clock to clear roads.”

8News also spoke with Bob Spieldenner, the communication manager for VDOT Richmond, on Tuesday.

“It could impact travel in the morning,” Spieldenner said. “Crews pre-testing the roads beginning last night and they’re continuing through today. That’s putting down a brine solution that really helps ice from forming on the roadway.” 

CLICK HERE or call 1-800-FOR-ROADS to report a weather-related issue on area roads.

For the latest on road conditions and traffic during winter storms, call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org. Also be sure to check StormTracker 8 weather for frequent forecast updates.

REMEMBER: 

  • Motorists are never advised to drive during a storm – it is not safe and hinders snow plowing operations
  • Give crews time to plow roads
  • Crews focus efforts on roads that carry the most traffic. During a storm, interstates and primary roads are cleared first, then major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities, and then other secondary roads and subdivision streets
  • Go to www.511virginia.org for the latest road conditions before traveling
  • If you must travel on snowy roads:
    -Allow plenty of time to reach your destination
    -Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you
    -Brake very lightly to keep your tires from slipping on pavement
    -Do not pass snow plows

AAA is also advising drivers to heed the following tips: 

  • Increase following distance – Increase your following distance to at least 10 seconds to allow yourself time in the event you or the car in front of you loses control. The stopping distance required on ice at zero degrees Fahrenheit is twice the amount required at thirty-two degrees.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses – Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Therefore, use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
  • Accelerate slowly – Traction is the greatest just before the wheel starts to spin, therefore accelerating slowly will increase your grip on the road.
  • Ease off the gas pedal – If your tires begin to slip or you begin to skid, ease off the gas pedal until you regain control of the vehicle.
  • Brake slowly and gently – Slamming on the brakes on ice covered roads dramatically increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle.
  • Control the skid – In the event you find your car is skidding, ease off of the accelerator or brake, and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  • Never use cruise control – Cruise control is not recommended when ice is on the road, as the driver should be in full control of the vehicle at every second.
  • Drive in cleared lanes – Changing lanes unnecessarily puts you at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Brush up on your driving skills with this AAA YouTube video: How to Drive in the Snow

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