Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rain and Snow is on the Way: County Offers Weather-Related Safety Tips

Winter storms can bring large amounts of rain and snow to our area and cause localized flooding. The Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management ( reminds residents to be aware of the force and power of water.  

Many deaths occur in automobiles as people and their vehicles are swept downstream. People should never drive around barriers or signs warning that roads are flooded. Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, stop and do not cross. Six inches of moving water can knock a person down and a mere two feet of water can move a large vehicle such as a bus!   

If roads become impassable due to flooding conditions, real-time traffic incident information for roadway obstructions and closures will be online at or via your web browsing cell-phone at

Winter Driving Safety Tips In Case of Overnight Snow:
Always keep the gas tank topped off. When it gets to half, fill it up.  

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make the trip, ensure someone is aware of your route of travel.  

Carry a cellular phone. Your cell phone can be used during emergencies and for notifying those expecting your arrival in case there are weather delays.  

Always buckle-up. Your seat belt can be the best protection against drivers who are tense and in a hurry because of weather conditions.  

Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving.  

Pay attention. Don't try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.  

Leave plenty of room for stopping.  

Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back a safe stopping distance and don't pass on the right.  

Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions.  

Watch for slippery bridges, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridges will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.  

Don't use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. 

Do not pump anti-lock brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump brakes in attempting to stop. The right way is to "stomp and steer!"  

Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second extra time to react safely.  

Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them. 

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