Motorists: Take heed

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 24, 2005

Staff Report

With the arrival of wintry conditions, the Virginia State Police are reminding motorists to put safety first when traveling on

area highways.


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As road conditions worsen, motorists are advised to travel only when necessary. For those having to drive in icy or snowyconditions, drivers need to slow their speeds and allow extra travel time.

&uot;Because road conditions can change rapidly during snow or ice storms, drivers need to be prepared and especially alert when it comes to winter driving,&uot; said Col. W. Steve Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.

&uot;As snow and ice increase, a driver’s reaction time and braking distance proportionately decrease. Therefore, the safest way to reach your destination is by slowing down, buckling up and paying attention.&uot;

For road condition updates, drivers can go to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Web site at, or to call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-367-ROAD.

Motorists are asked to use 911 and #77 for emergency calls only and not for information on road conditions.

For times when area drivers

must drive in wintry conditions, the

State Police offer the following safety tips:

-Drive well under the speed limits, and allow more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

-Brake gently to avoid skidding. If wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

-Keep headlights and windshields clean.

-Be especially careful on bridges and over-passes, as they will freeze first.

-Four-wheel drive vehicles are just as susceptible to losing control on slick road surfaces as the average passenger vehicle.

If You Become Stranded:

-Have a cellular phone charged and dial #77 to notify State Police.

-It is not a good idea to leave your car unless you know exactly where you are. In white outconditions, it is easy to become disoriented and lost.

-To attract attention stranded vehicles, light two flares and place one a safe distance away at each end of the car.

-Keep a winter car kit in the vehicle that includes: jumper cables, roadway flares or reflectors; flashlight and extra

batteries; windshield washer fluid; a small shovel; ice scraper; antifreeze; instant tire inflator; blanket; non-perishable food; candles and matches; a &uot;help&uot;sign; and a first aid kit.

-When driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should plan to carry extra supplies to keep warm.