Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Drive Safe This Morning

Loudoun County is still under an ice storm warning until 11 a.m. (see Loudoun County Weather for more details) and Loudoun County Public Schools have been canceled today, so traffic on Loudoun's roads should be lighter than normal.

If you are not an emergency service employee, we encourage you to stay off the roads as long as possible this morning to allow time for temperatures to rise and frozen sidewalks, roads, bridges and overpasses to melt.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office encourages motorists to remember these winter driving tips:
  • 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.
  • Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won’t help you stop any faster. Many 4x4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don’t get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle’s traction. Your 4x4 can lose traction as quickly as a two-wheel drive 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.
  • And finally, remember to slow down.

You should also keep an emergency supply kit in your car. Items should include:

  • properly fitting tire chains
  • a bag of sand or salt (or kitty litter)
  • traction mats
  • a snow shovel and/or snow brush and ice scraper
  • booster cables
  • warning devices such as flares or emergency lights
  • fuel line de-icer (methanol, also called methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate)
  • extra windshield wiper fluid appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures
  • a roll of paper towels
  • flashlight and a portable flashing light (and extra batteries)
  • blanket and extra clothing, including hat and wind-proof pants, and warm footwear
  • a first-aid kit
  • snack bars or other "emergency" food and water
  • matches and emergency candles

Again, if you don't have to be out on the roads, stay home. Grab some extra sleep. Tackle that project around the house that you've been putting off. Or grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy some time with the kids - remember, they are at home today!

For the latest Loudoun County traffic news and information,subscribe to Loudoun County Traffic

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