Travel will be hazardous overnight

Frigid temperatures will favor black ice; motorists should consider delaying travel

picSnowSign-3WMatt Wingfield | Rappahannock News

CULPEPER — Although the snow is expected to end within the next several hours motorists will still face winter driving challenges on most roads in Central Virginia. The sub-freezing temperatures will quickly freeze water remaining on the roads tonight and surfaces that look clear of snow and wet may actually be covered with a glaze of ice.

Most roads in VDOT’s Culpeper District, including interstates 66 and 64, are reported in minor condition, with mostly clear surfaces and patches of snow and ice. All roads in Fauquier County and Rappahannock County are in moderate condition, with significant amounts of snow and ice on the road surface. U.S. 33 at Swift Run Gap in Greene County is reported in moderate condition as it crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains into Rockingham County. Secondary roads in Culpeper and Orange counties are also reported mostly snow-covered at this hour.

VDOT crews and contractors will continue working overnight to clear the roads, using sand and salt to improve traction and plowing when snow accumulates on the roads. Crews will focus their snow and ice control efforts first on the interstates and primary highways, then will shift resources to the secondary road system as conditions allow. VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a winter storm ends.

Travel tonight will be hazardous, even after the snow ends. Blowing snow and temperatures dropping toward zero will create dangerous driving conditions, including snow drifts and black ice. Anyone contemplating driving overnight should check weather and roadway conditions before they travel, and unnecessary travel should be delayed until after the  storm passes.

Sub-freezing temperatures are forecast to continue for the next several days so motorists should be aware that icy conditions are likely even after roads are plowed. VDOT crews will continue to address icing as long as it is necessary.

VDOT offers the following safety tips to the traveling public:

 • Be prepared. Have emergency supplies in your car. Be sure your car is tuned up and ready for winter (check tires, antifreeze, windshield wipers, lights, heater, oil, etc).

• Be patient. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination, and keep a safe distance behind other vehicles. Don’t pass a snowplow or spreader. Drive gently — don’t slam on your brakes or jerk the wheel — to avoid your car spinning out of control.

• Be vigilant. Reduce speed. Pay close attention, especially when visibility is low. Be alert for tree limbs and other debris in the roadway. Never attempt to drive across or step over fallen utility lines. Always wear your seat belt.

Motorists should check VDOT’s 511 travel website, www.511virginia.org, before leaving on a trip. The website is updated in real time with weather and road conditions for all highways in Virginia. Once on the road VDOT’s 511 mobile app provides real-time traffic and weather information for both iPhone and Android platforms. Travelers can also call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for real-time information on traffic and road conditions.

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