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.
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.