The Virginia Department of Transportation is gearing up for today’s expected snowfall and is urging drivers to monitor weather forecasts, check road conditions and telework or limit travel in preparation for snow expected in northern Virginia this afternoon.
This morning, crews are pre-treating roads in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. On interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495â€”including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange, I-66 at Route 29 and the Capital Beltway interchange at Route 1â€”crews use liquid magnesium chloride. Problem spots on other major roads, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50 and 123, are pre-treated with salt brine.
Up to about 650 trucks will be on hand to treat roads in northern Virginia throughout the storm.
Both VDOT and the Virginia State Police are urging motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather. VDOT said drivers should:
- Check current weather, road conditions and traffic before traveling at www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511
- Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
- Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges
- Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.
Virginia State Police troopers have already had a busy week thanks to rainy weather. As conditions worse, troopers offered these driving tips:
- Leave early and allow yourself extra time to get to your destination
- Obey all the traffic laws and buckle up
- Slow down â€“ The posted speed limit is for driving during prime road conditions
- Increase your following distance and brake earlier. A wet surface increases your need for stopping distance
- Never drive through standing or high water
- Turn your headlights on during inclement weather. This increases your visibility.
- If your windshield wipers are not on the intermittent cycle, then you must have your headlights on.
- If you feel your vehicle hydroplane, let your foot off the gas and steer straight until you regain control. Do not slam on your brakes.
- Always drive distraction-free.
If you are involved in a crash, you can dial #77 from your cell phone. This call will go directly to a Virginia State Police Communications Center. When you call, the dispatcher will ask for your location, so it is important to know your route of travel to expedite our response time to your call for service.