AAA: Severe weather could impact afternoon commute

rainVirginia motorists may face hazardous driving conditions this afternoon due to severe thunderstorms that are threatening to bring strong winds, hail and the possibility of isolated tornadoes, warns AAA.  The auto club is advising motorists to exercise extreme caution during the afternoon commute and if at all possible delay travel until the storm passes.

“Today’s severe weather risk can pose dangerous driving conditions for motorists,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA.  “The best advice is of course to delay travel until the storm passes as this type of weather can make it very difficult to see or be seen.”

For those at home or on the road, AAA urges everyone to remain alert to changing weather conditions by staying tuned in to all local media for the latest updates. 

AAA tips for drivers during severe weather:

  • Be wary of high wind conditions — Larger trucks are more affected by high winds, so give them plenty of room on the roadways.
  • Slow Down – when road conditions become wet, slow down, don’t make sudden moves and leave a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Do not use cruise control as the chance of losing control of your vehicle increases – if you begin to experience a skid, the system may interpret the skid-induced reduction in speed as a need to apply more engine power, making it harder to recover from a skid.
  • Headlights – put them on at the first sign of darkness or decreased visibility.  In Virginia, and many other states, it is the law to turn on your headlights when you’re windshield wipers are on.
  • Hazards – turn on your hazard lights to indicate to other drivers that upcoming road conditions are severe.
  • Pull Over – blinding rain can make visibility next to impossible, slowly pull over to a safe place on the side of the road or parking lot until the storm passes to avoid hitting another car, bicyclist or pedestrian.
  • Stay tuned in – stay up to date on changing weather conditions by tuning into local media reports.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown – The National Weather Service data shows that nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related. Ironically, many drivers rescued from flood waters report that they were in a hurry to get home-to safety as a reason for tempting the danger of driving into water. The safest practice during a flood or flash flood is to avoid driving onto water-covered roadways, even if the water depth appears low. Water depth is very difficult to estimate on roads, especially at night, when many flood deaths occur. In the case of a flash flood, water rises very quickly. Water that covered a road by only 6 inches at one moment could easily be 2 to 3 feet deep just seconds later.
  • Brake Slowly – avoid slamming on the breaks, as this may cause your car to hydroplane.
  • STAY ALERT – get rid of distractions, such as music and cell phones, so you can concentrate on driving.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Virginia.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app ( for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit
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