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Snow Forecasted for Tue Night, Impacting Wed AM Commute (Updated)

This story has been updated to reflect more recent weather forecasts.

Commuters should prepare for another tricky trip into work on Wednesday, as about an inch of snow is expected to fall overnight and continue through the morning rush hour.

With roadways left cold due to the recent subfreezing temperatures, any precipitation is likely to stick to road surfaces and make traveling potentially hazardous.

In Virginia, crews were mobilizing to treat roads, and the Virginia Department of Transportation suggested delaying the Wednesday morning commute or teleworking. VDOT indicated conditions could be worse in the western suburbs. In the District, about 200 trucks went out early Tuesday evening to treat all roads. Forecasters said snowfall totals will likely be higher further north and further south of the District, and said snow should roll in after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

“Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving,” the National Weather Service said Tuesday afternoon.

Here are our usual warnings about driving too fast or recklessly during inclement weather:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on the pedal-it’s normal for the pedal to vibrate a bit when the ABS is activated.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-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 down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

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