Police offer advice on navigating icy road conditions

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 11:06 PM EST
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Winter weather is moving into our region, and ice can make for a tricky morning commute.

WDBJ7 rode along with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Thursday night to learn about some problemsome areas in the New River Valley and to seek safety advice for drivers.

Lt. Mark Hollandsworth said black ice is a lot more dangerous than snow because you have no traction.

“A lot of times you don’t really know it’s there,” Hollandsworth said. “Folks don’t see anything on the roads and they feel comfortable, then the next thing they know they hit a patch of black ice and lose control.”

Ice is already forming in areas that don’t get as much heat from cars or sunlight. Hollandsworth said the overpass near the Christiansburg exit on 460 sees a lot of accidents, that’s because it turns and it’s a bridge.

“There’s really no insulation for bridges and overpasses so the cold air is going under and over and allows the temperature of that surface to get cold a lot quicker,” Hollandsworth said.

He said another area that sees lots of trouble is the area of the 460 bypass between Blacksburg and Giles County.

Advisories are already posted near major interstates and salt is down in many areas. The best advice Hollandsworth said is to stay home, but if you can’t, then simply take the drive slow and watch out for others.

“You can control what you can control, but you never know when another person might lose control of their vehicle and you have to take aggressive action to avoid a collision,” he said.

If you do find yourself sliding, do not apply the brakes, but rather, take your foot off of the gas and steer into the direction your car is turning to get it under control.

“I think the biggest thing that folks do wrong is they try to slam on the brakes which basically locks up their tires and gives them no control at all,” Hollandsworth said.

VDOT crews finished their prep work earlier Thursday evening. They will be heading back in around midnight on Friday to continue their work along with many of the towns in the NRV to try to make your commute as safe as possible.

Copyright 2019 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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