As primary focus shifts to plowing, drivers still advised to remain off roads

Unless you need to be somewhere, stay home; give plow drivers time

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager

Credit: VDOT

ROANOKE, Va. - Yes, many main roads are looking great, but that's not the case for all of the roads after Sunday's record snowfall.

VDOT equipment operators and contractors in our part of Virginia have made good progress on plowing and treating interstate and primary (those roads numbered 1-599) roads Monday morning, according to VDOT.

On secondary roads and neighborhood streets (those numbered 600 and above), plowing is underway throughout the region. 

Interstates 77, 81 and 581 are in minor condition, meaning they are mostly clear with isolated slick spots.

Drivers should use caution and watch for icy spots, especially on ramps and overpasses.
Plowing on secondary roads and neighborhood streets will continue. Operators will make as much progress as possible today on these routes.    

VDOT’s goal is typically to make all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm’s end.

Due to this particular storm’s heavy accumulations, outlying areas may experience longer response time frames as crews continue to progress.

If you have to be out today, here are some tips to stay safe while driving:

•    Clear the snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof, hood, trunk and especially from the windows, mirrors and lights.
•    Wear your seat belt.
•    Leave early.
•    Start out slowly in the lowest gear recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.
•    Be aware of potentially icy areas, such as shady spots, bridges and places where vehicels may idles, such as stoplights
•    Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.
•    Don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Treat these vehicles as you would emergency response vehicles.
•    Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car.

AAA advises residents to stay off the roadways if possible, but if driving is unavoidable, follow these safety tips before attempting to drive:
•    Clear away as much snow as possible from around the tires under the vehicle and near the vehicle exhaust pipe.  This is especially important in deep snow to avoid potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide inside the vehicle. 
•    Use the vehicle defrost system to aid the melting of ice on the windshield.  Again, clear away any snow around the tailpipe before starting the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
•    If the vehicle door is frozen, use a plastic ice scraper to carefully chip any ice around the door seal and lock.  Do not attempt to unseal the door by using a cigarette lighter, ice pick, screwdriver, portable heater or torch.
•    Make sure side mirrors, headlights, taillights and turn signals are unobstructed.
•    Remove snow from windshield wiper blades and ensure fluid nozzles are clear of snow or ice.
•    De-icing products can help shorten the time it takes to remove the ice from the vehicle.  Use these products sparingly, as there are mixed reviews that saysome products can harm a vehicle’s finish.
•    Do not use a shovel to remove snow from your vehicle.  This can cause damage to the body of the vehicle.
•    Do not pour hot water over the vehicle windshield or windows.  The frozen glass can easily shatter due to the sudden and extreme temperature change. 
•    Do not pick at the ice on the windshield by using an ice pick, screwdriver or any metal object to remove the ice as this can shatter, crack or scratch the glass.

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