UPDATE 2/12 8:50 p.m.: From 4 p.m. through 8 p.m. Wednesday, Virginia State Police fielded 890 calls for service. Troopers responded to 342 traffic crashes and 134 disabled vehicles across the Commonwealth. As of 8 p.m., there were 140 active crashes being worked by troopers statewide.
There were 76 traffic crashes, 20 disabled vehicles and 169 calls for service in the Chesapeake Division.
UPDATE 2/12 6:30 p.m.: As snow sweeps into Virginia, state police have responded to more than 100 road and highway crashes.
While most are minor, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says police are investigating a fatal crash Wednesday afternoon in Halifax County on Route 501 and whether the storm played a role.
State police are being kept the busiest in the Salem Division, where the state has seen the earliest arrival of a storm that could leave some parts of the Virginia under a foot or more of snow.
Since 2 p.m., troopers responded to 85 crashes in the Salem area. Double-digit crash reports have also been recorded in the Richmond area and southeastern Virginia.
RICHMOND As the Virginia State Police prepares for the impending snow storm, Virginians are encouraged to get ready and plan ahead.
From about 3:10 p.m. 5 p.m., Virginia State Police troopers responded to 24 crashes in the Chesapeake Division.
Forecasts are currently calling for regions of the Commonwealth to get anywhere from four inches to a foot of snow between Wednesday and Thursday.
Virginia State Police will have all available troopers and supervisors working in advance of and the duration of the storm as it makes its way into the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia's highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.
'This storm has the potential to significantly, adversely impact the safety of motorists on our highways,' said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. 'We encourage Virginians to plan now so they are not caught out in the storm and put themselves and others at risk.'
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, as well as helps 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 snow 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 winter weather are caused by vehicles sliding into guardrails, 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.
- 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.