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Video: Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain

Posted at 7:40 a.m.

The morning commute is always interesting here in Northern Virginia — but add rain and things can get complicated.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has some good guidance for safe driving in the rain, like keeping extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Also, turn on your lights anytime it’s raining. Check out the video for more tips.

And most importantly, remember to turn around, don’t drown if you encounter high water or standing water on area roadways.

It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water.

It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.

It’s a Rainy Commute

Posted at 6:50 a.m.

keep calm and slow downOvernight rain continues this morning, making for a messy commute. The National Weather Service has also issued a flood warning until 10:45 a.m.

If you’re on the road this morning, please take a few extra minutes and drive with caution. Roads are wet — so slow down.

Before 5 a.m. this morning, law enforcement reported several roads affected by water. Here’s what we know about right now:

  • Chantilly: Multiple vehicle accident is blocking Route 28 northbound prior to Willard Road.
  • Fairfax Station: Burke Lake Road is closed at Jeremiah Court due to flooding.

If you encounter closed roads or roads affected by high water, do not attempt to drive through. Turn around and find an alternate route. And if possible, report any road issues to our non-emergency telephone number, 703-691-2131.

Today’s forecast calls for rain showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 8 a.m. Get more details on the weather forecast online, and be sure to sign up for Fairfax Alerts for severe weather alerts.


VDOT Says Roads Treacherous; Numerous Accidents Reported

Posted at 5:05 p.m.

Truck Accident

Police are receiving numerous accident reports as road conditions worsen.

Road conditions remain treacherous around the region this afternoon and there are multiple road closures throughout the county. Fairfax County 9-1-1 has received calls from drivers asking about abandoning their vehicles. These vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. If you can safely move your vehicle out of travel lanes you can call a tow truck to get the vehicle home; any vehicle left for more than 12 hours or deemed a road hazard by the police will be towed.

Abandoned vehicles may also contribute to accidents and the owner will be ticketed in this event. Exiting your vehicle puts you and other drivers in danger. If your vehicle is stuck and you are in danger, call 9-1-1, but otherwise you should have it towed.

Please remain off the roads if possible. Visibility is limited, temperatures are dropping and conditions are further deteriorating.

More than 3,800 trucks continue to plow roads in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties according to VDOT. Staying off the roads allows crews to work safely. Crews are spreading salt and abrasives, as appropriate, concentrating their response efforts on the most heavily traveled routes. VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. This storm; however, may deliver a second punch as temperatures drop to record levels and icy conditions remain likely into Friday.

Roads are Wet – Drive Careful This Afternoon

Posted at 4:20 p.m.

Fairfax County and the surrounding areas have received a lot of rain in the past 24 hours, and while the intensity has decreased, rain is still falling in certain areas and roadways are wet, which affects your ability to quickly stop your vehicle during your afternoon commute.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this afternoon and evening as you travel.

First, turn on your headlights and your windshield wipers. Your wipers are obvious, but unfortunately, many of us forget to turn on our headlights, which helps us be seen by others on these overcast, grey rainy days.

Once in your vehicle and on your way, remember to give yourself plenty of space around other vehicles. AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests on three-lane roads to drive in the middle lane. They say that most roads are higher in the middle, which means there’s a greater chance of water runoff and standing water in the side lanes.

Avoid Hydroplaning

Be sure to slow down when you see water standing on the surface of the pavement, especially on freeways. Also, drive in the tracks left by any vehicle ahead.

If hydroplaning does occur, do not brake. Instead, ease your foot off the accelerator to gradually decrease speed until your tires regain traction, and continue to look and steer where you want to go. In fact braking in wet conditions is tricky business. Sudden, hard or prolonged braking can cause a skid.

If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), all you need to do is press the brake pedal and hold it down. Do not pump the brakes, because ABS does that very rapidly for you. The system automatically senses if a wheel begins to lock and quickly releases and reapplies the brakes as many times as necessary to keep the wheel from locking up.

If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, the best way to brake under these conditions is to use squeeze braking. For squeeze braking, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure on the brake pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal to a point where they just release. Adjust pedal pressure as necessary. This gives you the best combination of braking effort and directional control.

Flood Warning and Flash Flood Watch

The National Weather Service has extended the Flood Warning for Fairfax County until 9 p.m. tonight and a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through late tonight.

Rapidly moving water is powerful and can be a threat to vehicles as well as people and property. Please stay away from rapidly rising creeks and streams and don’t drive through roads covered in water. You can’t tell how deep the water may be, so remember to turn around, don’t drown.

Weather information is online at

Tips provided by AAA Mid-Atlantic


VDOT: Stay Off the Roads on Monday

Posted 9:10 p.m.

From our friends at the Virginia Department of Transportation:

VDOT snow plowDrivers should stay off the roads tomorrow, Monday, March 3, during a storm expected to bring significant sleet, snow and frigid temperatures to Northern Virginia. By midnight tonight, 4,000 trucks will be staged along interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties.

Info for Northern Virginia drivers and residents:

  • Drivers are strongly advised to stay home during the storm.
  • Crews will plow and treat interstates, major roads and neighborhoods concurrently.
  • Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William residents can enter their address at to see the status of plowing in their neighborhood.
  • Park in your driveway or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
  • When shoveling, leave the last few feet at the curb until the street is plowed, as the truck will push some snow back. Shovel to the right facing the road.
  • Chemicals are not used in subdivisions, but crews sand hills, curves and intersections to provide traction. For most storms, one snowplow pass, about eight to ten feet wide, is made.

Get more information: