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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Icy commutes Tues. & Wed. a.m.

By Washington Post Editors

For most Washington commuters, the workweek is just barely underway but already everyone is looking ahead to what Tuesday and Wednesday may bring.

According to the Capital Weather Gang, Tuesday morning may bring light precipitation. However, we've seen several instances this winter when a little ice has caused major problems on the highways.
Acting with caution, the Office of Personnel Management has already announced that federal workers can take unscheduled leave Tuesday morning.

The bigger threat arises for Wednesday morning. The District and points to the south and east may see rain, but the Capital Weather Gang says the odds of icing will increase in areas such as Loudoun County and Montgomery and Frederick counties. In fact a winter storm watch is in effect for some areas, with the possibility of more than a quarter inch of ice accumulating.

Here are some ways you can prepare:

  • Be sure the battery in your vehicle is charged.
  • Check wiper blades, tires, the tire jack, antifreeze and lights.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full; many people ran out of gas last week during the the Wednesday night commuting nightmare.
  • Carry an emergency kit that includes a small shovel; a bag of rock salt, sand or cat litter; a scraper and brush; a flashlight with extra batteries; jumper cables; blankets; and a first-aid kit.
  • Don't use cruise control.
  • Allow extra room for stopping or for taking evasive action.
  • Turn your lights on and use your turn signals.
  • Stick with the main roads as long as you can rather than detouring onto secondary routes.
  • Watch for pedestrians: During heavy storms, the streets may be in better condition than the sidewalks, so pedestrians will hop over snowbanks and walk wherever they can.
  • Don't crowd the plow: Plow operators ask, What's the point of trying to get ahead of trucks that are making the road behind them safer to use? Also, a plow operator has blind spots, especially behind and to the left.

By Washington Post Editors  | January 31, 2011; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Weather  
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