AAA, VSP advise drivers to prepare before wintry mix hits the area

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — AAA Mid-Atlantic and Virginia State Police are reminding drivers to prepare today for the heavy rain and snow expected to hit most of the Commonwealth overnight into Tuesday.

Tammy Arnette, spokesperson with AAA Mid-Atlantic, said since the weather is expected to affect the morning commute, it is crucial that drivers make sure they have their emergency kits fully stocked in their cars.

“Right now is the perfect time to prepare before winter weather hits,” Arnette said. “Naturally you’re going to have your reflectors, your battery jumper cables, but you also want to have something for the cold weather. When the snow hits, your ice scraper with a brush on it, blankets, hats, gloves, scarves – things to keep you warm should you be stranded on the roadside and need to call for assistance.”

Arnette said AAA Mid-Atlantic crews are already preparing to work around the clock and watching the weather forecast closely. Arnette said other than the typical stranded driver calls, crews often see drivers struggling to get their battery to turn over in cold weather.

“When it’s really cold like this we see a lot of calls for dead batteries,” Arnette said. “Before that winter weather comes in, go in and have your battery tested before it tests you. You want to make sure that it can withstand the cold temperatures.”

For more tips for drivers commuting in winter weather, CLICK HERE.

VSP officials, meanwhile, are reminding those who must be on the roads Tuesday to prevent unnecessary traffic crashes by doing the following:

If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:

  • Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, to include standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better.
  • Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a storm, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
  • Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during inclement weather are caused by vehicles sliding off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
  • Put down your phone. Having to drive in severe snow or rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as these actions put you, your passengers and other vehicles at extreme risk of a crash and/or injury.
  • Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
  • Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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