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State police urge drivers to slow down during dangerous month on Virginia roadways

October brought the most crashes, injuries and deaths in 2019 than any other month

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – We’re in the middle of one of the most dangerous months on Virginia roadways.

Last year, state police said there were more crashes, injuries and deaths during October than any other month.

Virginia State Police reported 12,568 traffic crashes statewide, which resulted in 86 deaths and 6,036 injuries.

The stretch of I-81 in Botetourt County is one of the most dangerous in all of Virginia.

The few miles of winding road near Buchanan have seen an alarming amount of crashes. State police data shows more than 70 crashes in that small section so far this year and four deaths dating back to late 2010.

“I could probably talk about three or four different crashes that have taken someone’s life in this particular area of roadway that we’re looking at,” Virginia State Police Sgt. Rick Garletts said.

10 News rode along with Garletts Monday to see the problems firsthand.

“I think it has a lot to do with the drivers themselves because it’s not particularly straight so they have to pay attention to what they’re doing and how they maneuver their vehicles through here,” Garletts said.

Speeding is one of the big problems they see in the area. The winding roads makes that even more risky.

VDOT is doing its part to make the road safer.

“They’ve done what they can do other than to straighten the road out,” Garletts said.

Crews are now working on small safety improvements to the southbound side similar to recent changes on the northbound side.

Ultimately, Garletts said it comes down to drivers. That’s why police are urging you to slow down and pay attention especially during a month known for risks on the road.

“It just takes looking away to adjust a radio, looking down at that cell phone for something to go bad wrong that you’re not going to be able to recover from,” Garletts said.


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