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A history of roads in Virginia: New ways of doing transportation business

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The “Dashboard” is an online system for VDOT managers to see in an instant which projects are on time and on budget. Pictured is “Dashboard II”, an expanded version of the original system.

As the new century continued to unfold, national trends in the public sphere were readily apparent in Virginia. Citizens were seeking more involvement in transportation issues as well as a role in planning future initiatives. They also were demanding more accountability from government and more transparency with the public’s business. Further, they thought government should do more with fewer resources.

Consequently, VDOT took some bold steps. One was an accountability system developed by employees in 2003 called the “Dashboard.” The Web-based tool became an early warning system for construction project managers, showing them in an instant which projects were on track and which were falling behind or going over budget. Citizens were invited to view the Dashboard online and to communicate with managers about projects important to them. In 2005, “Dashboard II” was launched with additional information on highway operations, engineering, safety, finance and the environment.

Employees also designed a new system to estimate costs of future transportation projects. One of the first in the nation, the system addressed the department’s tendency to underestimate project costs by an average of 187 percent—a margin reduced to 30 percent the first year of the system’s use. In addition, the agency began running a cash flow analysis to ensure that money would be on hand for approved projects.

Project managers, with authority and accountability, were assigned to all projects, not just the larger ones. VDOT also increased its contingent of engineers with professional licensure from 182 to 270 between 2003 and 2005. Further, in a major cost-savings initiative, the number of employees was reduced by 1,400 between 2002 and 2004; as vacant positions went unfilled, employees picked up added duties and work was outsourced.

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The Mystery Behind Car Rear Windows: A Design, Not Safety Choice

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Uncovering the Real Reason Why Back Car Windows Don’t Fully Roll Down.

Have you ever wondered why the rear windows in most cars don’t roll down all the way? While many assume it’s a safety feature to prevent kids and pets from jumping out, the true reason lies in the vehicle’s design and architecture.

Not a Safety Feature
The common belief that rear windows are designed to stay partially rolled up for safety reasons is a misconception. While it might incidentally serve as a safety measure, the primary reason is far more structural than protective.

Car Architecture at Play
Gear Patrol explains that the key factor is the car’s architecture. The design of most cars includes a rear door with a lower edge curving upwards along the back axle wheel well. This curvature creates a design constraint – there simply isn’t enough vertical space within the door to accommodate the entire window.

Window and Door Design
When a car window rolls down, it needs space within the door to retract fully. Due to the upward curve near the back axle, the space inside the door is limited. This limitation restricts how far down the window can go. It’s a matter of spatial logistics rather than a deliberate choice to prevent passengers from opening the window fully.

The partial rolling down of rear car windows is a fascinating example of how design and functionality intersect in automotive engineering. While it might seem like a safety feature at first glance, it’s actually a result of the vehicle’s structural design. Understanding this aspect of car design sheds light on the numerous considerations automotive engineers take into account when creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing vehicle.

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Gear Up for Winter: Essential Car Accessories for the Cold Season

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Four Must-Have Accessories to Navigate Winter Roads Safely.

Preparing your car for the season’s challenges is crucial as winter approaches. Equipping your vehicle with the right accessories can significantly ensure safety and comfort during the cold months. Here are four essential car accessories that are must-haves for the winter season.

  1. Snow Brush and Ice Scraper: A robust snow brush is indispensable for clearing snow off your car. A telescopic model with an integrated ice scraper is particularly useful. Opt for EVA foam or silicone scrapers to avoid scratching your car’s windows and paint. These materials are gentle yet effective in removing ice and snow.
  2. High-Quality Windshield Wipers: Visibility is key during winter drives, especially in snowstorms or on slush-covered roads. Investing in high-quality windshield wipers is crucial. Look for durable models with an extra rubber coating and a strong internal frame designed to withstand harsh winter conditions.
  3. Rubber Floor Mats: Winter road conditions can bring a lot of slush and moisture into your vehicle. Heavy-duty rubber floor mats with deep grooves are perfect for protecting your car’s interior and the electronic components beneath the front seats. Plus, they keep your footwear clean.
  4. Lightweight Shovel: A compact, lightweight shovel with an extendable handle is an invaluable tool if your car, or another’s, gets stuck in the snow. It’s much more efficient and safer than using hands or feet for digging.

Emergency Kit: In addition to these accessories, it’s wise to carry an emergency kit in your vehicle. This kit should include essentials like warm clothing, bottled water, a flashlight, and traction aids to handle unexpected situations.

Preparing your car for winter doesn’t just enhance your driving experience; it also plays a crucial role in ensuring your safety. By equipping your vehicle with these essential accessories, you’re not just preparing for the cold; you’re ensuring peace of mind. As the temperature drops, remember that a well-prepared car is the key to navigating winter roads safely and comfortably.

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Winter Car Care: Essential Lubrication Tips for Your Vehicle

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How to Protect Your Car from Winter Woes with Proper Lubrication.

Introduction: As winter approaches, it brings with it the challenges of cold temperatures, snow, and ice, which can take a toll on vehicles. To ensure your car remains in top condition, experts recommend performing specific maintenance tasks, including the crucial step of lubricating key parts.

Body: Lubrication plays a vital role in car maintenance, especially during the colder months. It helps prevent rust, reduces the risk of parts jamming or rubbing together, and improves sealing. Various lubricants, like pastes, aerosol oils, and greases, are available, containing substances such as silicone, Teflon, and white lithium. These are ideal for keeping different parts of your vehicle functioning smoothly.

Here are essential car components that you should consider lubricating before winter sets in:

  1. Window Tracks: Lubricating the window tracks can prevent the windows from sticking or requiring excessive force to open when icy.
  2. Hood Latch: Regardless of the weather, you need easy access to the hood for routine checks and maintenance, such as adding windshield washer fluid or recharging the battery. A well-lubricated hood latch ensures hassle-free access.
  3. Door Locks: Door locks are particularly prone to freezing in winter, potentially preventing key insertion or causing issues with remote unlocking systems. Lubricating these locks can safeguard against these freezing problems.
  4. Doors: Frozen car doors are a common and frustrating winter issue. To avoid this, lubricate the door hinges and seals to ensure they open smoothly, even in freezing conditions.

These simple but effective lubrication steps can significantly enhance your car’s winter performance and reliability.

Winterizing your car is an important aspect of automotive care. By focusing on lubricating specific parts of your vehicle, you can protect it from the harsh winter elements. This preventative measure not only saves time and stress but also extends the lifespan of your vehicle. For professional assistance, consider visiting a local car care retailer or scheduling an appointment with a mechanic.

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Stay Safe on the Road: The Importance of Proper Tire Pressure

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How Maintaining Correct Tire Pressure Can Save Lives and Money.

The Rubber Manufacturers’ Association emphasizes that proper tire maintenance is not just a matter of vehicle upkeep; it’s a crucial aspect of road safety. One key element often overlooked by drivers is tire pressure. Maintaining the correct tire pressure is vital for safe driving, yet many vehicles are on the road with underinflated tires, posing significant risks.

Risks of Under-Inflation
Under-inflated tires are a common issue and can lead to dangerous situations. When tires are not properly inflated, the risk of losing control or skidding increases significantly. This risk is compounded by the fact that tire pressure can be low even if the tires don’t appear flat, making regular checks essential.

Checking Tire Pressure
To ensure your tires are correctly inflated, refer to the label on your car’s door, glove compartment, or fuel door. This label provides the recommended air pressure, which may differ for front and rear tires, especially in SUVs. Remember, tire pressure guidelines vary among vehicle makes and models.

When to Check
It’s best to test tire pressure when tires are cold, as driving heats up the tires and may give a false reading. Make it a habit to check tire pressure every couple of weeks and always before embarking on a long trip.

Good Driving Habits
In addition to maintaining proper tire pressure, avoiding fast starts and stops, steering clear of curbs while parking, and not overloading the car can help extend tire life and enhance safety. These practices, combined with regular tire pressure checks, contribute to safer driving conditions.

Proper tire pressure is a simple yet crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance that significantly impacts safety and efficiency. By routinely checking tire pressure and adhering to good driving habits, drivers can save money on tire replacements and fuel costs and, more importantly, safeguard their lives and the lives of others on the road.

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Winter is Coming: The Importance of a Pre-Winter Car Inspection

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Three Compelling Reasons to Get Your Car Winter-Ready.

With winter around the corner, car owners are advised to prioritize their vehicle’s health. A pre-winter car inspection by a professional is more than just a routine check; it’s crucial to ensure your vehicle’s reliability and safety during the challenging winter months.

Here are three vital reasons why booking a pre-winter car inspection is essential:

  1. Optimal Timing: Fall is the perfect season for a car inspection. It’s a strategic move to pair this check-up with the installation of winter tires. As the holiday season approaches, ensuring your car is in top condition is vital for safe and enjoyable year-end road trips. Moreover, a pre-holiday inspection might be more budget-friendly as expenses typically ramp up during the holiday season.
  2. Expert Eye for Hidden Issues: Even the most knowledgeable car owners might miss subtle issues. A car that runs smoothly now doesn’t guarantee it will brave the winter without problems. With their expertise and specialized tools, professional mechanics can identify and fix minor issues before they escalate into major problems. This proactive approach is essential for preventing costly repairs and inconvenient breakdowns in the cold weather.
  3. Cost Savings and Long-term Benefits: Regular inspections, ideally twice a year, are not just about immediate fixes; they’re an investment in your car’s long-term health. Catching small problems early can substantially reduce repair costs. Consistent maintenance also keeps your manufacturer’s warranty intact. Additionally, a well-maintained car commands a higher resale value, proving beneficial if you plan to sell your vehicle.

A pre-winter car inspection is a small step that leads to significant peace of mind. It ensures that your vehicle is prepared for the harsh conditions of winter, ultimately saving you time, money, and stress. As the cold season approaches, remember that a well-maintained car is key to a safe and smooth driving experience.

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Get More Miles from Your Tires: Four Proven Tips

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Maximizing the Longevity of Your Vehicle’s Footwear.

We’ve all felt the pain of parting with our hard-earned cash for a new set of tires. It’s not just a purchase; it’s an investment in safety, comfort, and performance. Wouldn’t it be great if we could stretch every dollar spent by making our tires last just a bit longer? Here are four effective strategies that can help you get the most out of those rubber rings circling your wheels.

1. Twice-Yearly Tire Rotation
One of the most straightforward tips is to rotate your tires. By simply swapping the front and rear tires in spring and fall, you can ensure even wear. This step not only boosts the tire’s lifespan but also helps in achieving a smoother drive.

2. Keeping the Pressure Just Right
While it might seem like a minor detail, maintaining the correct air pressure in your tires can significantly influence their lifespan. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires tend to wear out faster and can even affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. A quick pressure check during monthly fill-ups or routine stops at the gas station can save both your tires and wallet.

3. Proper Tire Storage is Key
If you’re swapping out seasonal tires, their storage matters. For those on rims, lay them flat, but for the rimless kind, standing them up is the way to go. But no matter how you store them, remember to keep them away from direct sunlight and dampness, which can deteriorate the rubber over time.

4. Smooth Ride, Longer Tire Life
Your car’s suspension system plays a pivotal role in how your tires wear. If the shock absorbers are worn out, your tires bear the brunt. A good indicator that it might be time to check your suspension is if your vehicle seems to bounce a bit too much, especially over bumps or uneven surfaces.

James Turner, a mechanic with over 20 years of experience, emphasizes the importance of these practices. “I can’t stress enough how a little attention to your tires can lead to substantial savings,” Turner says. “Regular checks and maintenance can add thousands of miles to a tire’s life.”

Driving Forward

In the grand scheme of car ownership, taking a few moments to care for your tires can result in tangible benefits. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also enjoy a safer and smoother driving experience. Remember, the health of your tires directly impacts the health of your driver. So, invest a little time now and save a lot in the long run.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal, VA
36°
Partly Cloudy
7:21 am4:50 pm EST
Feels like: 32°F
Wind: 5mph W
Humidity: 78%
Pressure: 29.92"Hg
UV index: 0
TueWedThu
48°F / 28°F
45°F / 23°F
43°F / 25°F

Upcoming Events

Dec
12
Tue
7:30 pm American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
Dec 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
American Legion Community Band Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
The American Legion Community Band, located in Front Royal, Virginia, was formed in 1986 and has been playing concerts in the area ever since. The conductors and band members are all volunteer musicians from the local[...]
Dec
13
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 13 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
16
Sat
7:00 am Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Dec 16 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Join us for pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage gravy, and juice/coffee! All are invited for this FREE event. Offering will be accepted.
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 16 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
1:00 pm The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of The Nutcracker, a Christmas classic to be enjoyed by the whole family! When: Saturday, December 16th at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM Where:[...]
Dec
17
Sun
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 17 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
Dec
20
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 20 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
27
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 27 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jan
1
Mon
5:30 am First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jan 1 @ 5:30 am – 1:00 pm
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: While the American tradition of celebrating the New Year occurs at midnight on New Year’s Eve, other cultures celebrate by enjoying the sunrise on New Year’s Day. As part of the continuing American[...]
Jan
3
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jan 3 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]