Be Careful on Icy Walkways and Roadways

Posted at 4:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service is expecting lighter precipitation this afternoon, but a second wave of freezing rain is expected overnight, which could lead to hazardous driving conditions in the morning. Substantial ice glazing is expected, which could cause power outages and associated problems.

Even a small amount of ice on walkways and driveways can lead to slips, trips and falls, which often lead to serious sprain and strain injuries. Our Risk Management Division recommends these safety tips if you have to be outside in today’s icy weather:

  • Slow down and watch where you walk. Walk slowly and deliberately.
  • Use handrails when you can.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets; you need to have both hands free for balance.
  • Concentrate on what you’re doing – avoid texting or using your cellphone until you are inside a building.
  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. Flat footwear with a good rubber tread provides the best traction.
  • Walk in designated walkways. Avoid shortcuts that could conceal hazards.
  • Be careful getting into and out of vehicles – and hold on to the vehicle for support.
  • Use floor mats when entering a building to remove moisture from the bottom of your shoes. This will prevent you and others from having to walk on wet or slippery surfaces.
  • If the ice causes tree limbs to fall in your yard, be careful when you are picking up the debris. Keep your back straight and lift with your legs. Also, know your physical limits. If there is a substantial amount of debris, get professional assistance with the removal.

Of course the best advice is to stay inside where you don’t have to battle the elements.

Driving Safety

It’s best to not be out on the roads during inclement weather like today. With ice and freezing rain, traction becomes greatly reduced, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Clearing icy roads is also difficult for VDOT when there is a lots of traffic on the roads. More vehicles delay salt crews and plows, with roads remaining hazardous for a longer period of time. So if you don’t have to travel — don’t!

For those who must travel, slow down, wear your seat belt and use your brakes sparingly (to avoid sliding and spinning). Know road conditions before you leave.

  • Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going to www.511Virginia.org. Fairfax County also has a Web page featuring a compilation of road maps, including VDOT’s snow plow map.
  • Even after roads have been treated with salt and/or sand, you should reduce speed and keep a safe driving distance from other vehicles on the road.
  • Driving is most dangerous when the temperature is at or under 32° F.  If the road is wet, ice is likely, especially on bridges, ramps and overpasses.
  • Keep an emergency kit in the trunk to include such items as warm blankets, flash lights, non-perishable food, drinking water and a first-aid kit. Also helpful is a shovel, tow rope, cat litter (for traction) and jumper cables.
  • Always bring a windshield scraper so you can clear your windshield and see where you’re going!

Be sure to keep your cellphones fully charged so you can monitor the weather forecast and news outlets. And be sure to subscribe for email updates from this emergency information blog (see sign up box at right). Additional emergency information is also available on the county website.

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15 responses to “Be Careful on Icy Walkways and Roadways”

  1. Amanda says :

    Are you planning on shutting down fairfax county govt tomorrow?? I live across the mountain and will not be able to make it across!

    • Fairfax County Emergency Information says :

      County officials are in touch with the National Weather Service about the current situation and forecast. At this point, no decision on county operating status or Schools status for tomorrow has been made. Stay connected to the blog… as soon as a decision is made, it’ll be published here, as well as on our social media channels, CEAN, etc.

  2. Bowman Olds says :

    And don’t forget the car charger for your cell phone.

  3. Anonymous says :

    Will the Fairfax County courts be open tomorrow?

  4. Anonymous says :

    Close school

    • Anonymous says :

      Schools are closed. Good choice. At the least, there should be a delayed opening for the County Gov’t with as much ice accumulation as we are expecting.

  5. Anonymous says :

    I wish I knew about Fairfax County Government for Monday before I go to bed tonight so I can plan better.

  6. Joan says :

    I wish I knew about Fairfax Co. Gov.’t. status for tomorrow so I could plan better.

  7. Anonymous says :

    I have to get up at 3:30 am if FFX gov is opening on time…an announcement would be awesome because with this weather I will now have to get up at 2:30 am to allow extra travel time!

  8. Anonymous says :

    Any delays for fairfax govt???

  9. Anonymous says :

    Just make the call already. Are you waiting to see if perhaps a meteorite might strike the earth, super heating the atmosphere and causing the ice and snow in our area to melt before morning? Thanks in advance.

  10. MW says :

    What about Circuit Court, jury duty? I was summoned for jury duty tomorrow morning- my group has been called to show up tomorrow at 8:15 am. I have not heard ANYTHING concerning any delays or postponement. Are we really expected to get on the road very early in the morning to get to courthouse by 8:15 with even though thre is a winter weather warning the weather service has in effect until 10 am tomorrow morning?

  11. Anonymous says :

    This website and gov administrators are a joke. Even an hour delay would help with the traffic hazard of traveling in this mess

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