RICHMOND — As the Virginia State Police prepares for an incoming storm, it is encouraging Virginians to get ready and plan ahead, too.
A tropical storm warning is already in effect for coastal Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. Forecasts are currently calling for the eastern and central regions of the Commonwealth to be impacted by significantly heavy rains and strong winds, the Virginia State Police (VSP) said.
VSP have all available troopers and supervisors working through this evening and the weekend as the storm makes it through Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore and the Middle Peninsula, it said.
To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways, state police advise residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, if possible.
If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:
- 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, downed trees and/or debris in the roadway. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
- Turn Around. Don’t Drown. Never drive through standing water. What looks like a puddle can be deep and swift-moving water. Turn around and find another, safer route to your destination.
- Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on wet road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
- Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better, especially in a downpour when visibility is limited.
- 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 heavy 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, tire tread, battery life, etc.
Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response, VSP said.