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Icy streets lead to 50 rush-hour accidents, watch out for refreeze on the roads

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jan 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-14 13:35:53-05

RICHMOND, Va. -  More than 50 accidents littered metro-Richmond roads and highways at the peak of Wednesday's ice-slicked morning rush hour, according to the Virginia State Police.

VDOT said most roadways would improve over the course of the day, but warned a refreeze would be possible.  The evening rush hour and morning drive could be treacherous, VDOT said.

AAA Mid Atlantic offered tips for drivers:

• Stay at home until temperatures rise and roads are clear of ice
• Remember, just because roads look wet, they are not always wet but actually ice.
• One patch of roadway can be fine and within seconds drivers can hit a patch of ice.
• No amount of driver skill will keep you from losing control on a patch of ice.
• If your tires lose traction, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.
• Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.
• Avoid changing lanes.
• Do not use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
• Know when to brake and when to steer. Some driving situations require abrupt action to avoid a crash or collision and in winter conditions, the decision to steer or brake can have very different outcomes. When travelling over 25 MPH, AAA recommends steering over braking to avoid a collision in icy conditions.
• Stay in control through a skid. Even careful drivers can experience skids. When a vehicle begins to skid, it is important to not panic. Continue to look and steer in the direction the car needs to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.
• Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on ice-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.