The Virginia Department of Transportation offers these safety tips:

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

— Before beginning your trip, know the current road conditions. Call 1-800-367-ROAD for statewide conditions or go to Hampton Roads motorists can also get local road updates by calling 1-800-792-2800.

— Keep your windows, mirrors and lights clear of ice and snow.

— Always wear lap and shoulder safety belts.

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— Leave a few minutes early to allow extra time to get to your destination.

— Be alert for potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees, electric lines and icy areas, such as shady spots and bridges.

— Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles, including trucks that are plowing the road.

— Don’t pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary.

— Don’t park along the street. Snowplow drivers can’t fully clear a road if cars are in their way.

— Don’t abandon your vehicle. If you must, leave it as far off the roadway as possible to avoid hampering snow removal operations.

— Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car including tire chains, small shovel, rock salt, sand or cat litter for emergency traction, snow brush, ice scraper, flashlight, jumper cables, blanket, extra clothing and snacks.