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. 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 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.
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 at www.511virginia.org.
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.