Snow coming: Virginia State Police urge you to drive to save lives

snow stormAs the first of two forecast snow storms makes its way across the Commonwealth Wednesday, Virginians are encouraged to plan ahead, be prepared and avoid unnecessary travel.

Virginia State Police will have all available troopers and supervisors working in advance of and the duration of the storms as they make their way across and into the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes and delays from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storms, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.

“These storm systems have the potential to significantly impact the safety of motorists on our highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We encourage drivers who encounter adverse travel conditions to be prepared, be alert, remain patient, and to always drive to save lives.”

If having to travel during the storms, drivers are reminded of the following traffic safety tips:

  • 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.
  • Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a snow storm, 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, especially at intersections. 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 a seat belt protects you and your passengers from being thrown around the inside the 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.

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