Accident Prone Afton

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

State Trooper Officials say the weather has a lot to do with accidents on I-64, but it's still up to drivers to pay attention and be careful.

"It was raining, snowing and foggy," said Tia Washington an employee at The Inn At Afton.

Just the right conditions to cause a multi vehicle collision like the one Friday afternoon on I-64. Washington says she wasn't surprised by what happened.

"When we heard about the accident I could totally understand it happening," said Washington, "you couldn't even see five feet in front of you."

Sgt. Frank Pyanoe of the Virginia State Police says Afton Mountain can become dangerous when the temperature drops.

"It becomes a dangerous place for several reasons, " said Sgt. Pyanoe, "usually there is a change in weather at a higher point causing the roads to freeze over."

And that's when drivers need to be extra careful. When you are traveling in wet conditions at higher elevations and temperatures in the low 30s, you should always use caution.

Drive with lights on, adjust your speed accordingly, keep plenty of distance between you and vehicle in front of you and drive slower over passes, they may be icy.

VDOT officials say drivers should pay close attention to the fog lights in the road, they will help guide you alone.

"The other thing that we are doing in conjunction with the fog lights system is the variable message signs," said Eric Gorton spokesman for VDOT, "we have two that are on interstate 64."

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Driving In the Rain Safety Tips

Skidding

  • You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves.

  • Steer and brake with a light touch.

  • When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

  • If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.

  • For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. This procedure, known as "steering into the skid," will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you "steer into the skid."

Hydroplaning

  • Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way.

  • The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road.

  • To avoid hydroplaning, keep your tires properly inflated, maintain good tread on your tires and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you.

  • If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid.

  • If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.

Source: www.nsc.org (National Safety Council Web site) contributed to this report.


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