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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Friday, December 5, 2008
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Winter Weather May Cause Hazardous Driving Conditions
Motorists Urged to Drive Carefully, Remove Snow from Vehicles

RICHMOND - Snowy and icy conditions make driving a challenge, especially when snow from other vehicles impairs a driver's ability to see.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles encourages motorists to remove all snow from their vehicle before driving, including off the roof of the vehicle. Snow falling onto the roadway from a vehicle while it is moving is a safety hazard to the driver and other motorists on the road.

During winter weather conditions, drivers should slow down and increase following distance. The braking distance for road surfaces with rain, snow and ice can be from three to nine times greater than stopping distances on dry, clear roads. Icy conditions may also obscure lane marking and traffic signs. Motorists should be aware that even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on snowy and icy roads. Last year, snow or sleet was a contributing factor in 3,647 crashes in Virginia.

Follow these tips when driving during winter weather conditions:

  • Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle before driving
  • Decrease your speed
  • Turn on your lights
  • Don't use cruise control or overdrive
  • Don't pass snow plows or sanding trucks
  • Allow for extra traveling time
  • Stay in the right-hand lane except when passing
  • Steer with smooth and precise movements to prevent skidding

DMV, the Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia State Police are challenging motorists to help prevent highway deaths this winter. The agencies are working together to reduce traffic-related deaths through a public awareness campaign called the Highway Safety Challenge.

To help reduce the number of traffic fatalities this winter, the campaign encourages motorists to adhere to the following calls to action:

Highway Safety Challenge logo
  • Buckle up
  • Avoid distractions
  • Share the road
  • Drive drug and alcohol free
  • Obey the speed limit

To learn more about the Virginia Highway Safety Challenge, visit

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