Able Forces will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia this Friday 22 November from 9AM to Noon. As the VA does not have an office here any longer, Able Forces is making space available each month so that local veterans and their families have local access to VA representatives regarding claims, forms, or any other matter related to Veteran issues.
If you are interested in meeting with Andre, please call our office at 540.631.9600 to make an appointment, or just come by 115 Chester Street, Suite B.
No middle ground apparent in Confederate statue debate
An unexpected debate over the fate of the Confederate Soldier Monument on the Warren County Courthouse lawn erupted at Tuesday morning’s County Board of Supervisors meeting.
In fact, after an agenda addition was proposed by Tony Carter to add authorization for Interim County Attorney Jason Ham to submit a request that a public referendum on the 109-year-old statue’s fate be added to the November county ballot, nine of 14 speakers at the first public comments period addressed the issue. The split was a tight 5-4 in favor of keeping the statue at its public site, rather than remove it as a lingering sign of racism and the slavery issue at the root of the American Civil War.
Those five speaking for keeping the statue dedicated to the memory of Warren County’s 600 Confederate soldiers, both known and unknown, who fought in the war all argued that the statue was not a glorification of slavery and continued racism in America, but rather a tribute to non-slave-owning soldiers – other than five of those 600 – most likely drafted into service who may have viewed the war from a different perspective than many of those of us in the 21st century might assume.
The four speaking for removal included two principals from Front Royal Unites, Samuel Porter and Stevi Hubbard, as well as Gene Kilby, James Kilby Sr.’s youngest son and one of the county’s first integrated public school students of color, and Episcopal Reverend Valerie Hayes. From their varying perspectives, all four countered that for the county’s black citizens the statue does echo of slavery and racism.
Speaking for maintaining the statue under some compromise solution that does not glorify slavery or racism included several members of a family tied to Front Royal’s Chester Street Warren Rifles Confederate Museum, including Suzanne Wood Silek, her nephew and museum curator Gary Duane Vaughan, cousin and local attorney David Silek. Others speaking for keeping the statue where it is were Richard Bruce Colton and Richard Hoover.
Several of the speakers on the removal side of the debate who had arrived late after being notified of the agenda item addition, complained of the unannounced late addition they said prevented more speakers from their side from coming to voice their opinions.
However, Carter who made the motion to add the item noted that the board’s hand was forced by the discovery that there was an August 14 deadline on submission to the court of a County petition to add a referendum on the statue issue to the November ballot. Carter noted the next scheduled board meeting was August 19.
An updated story with more detail on the debate will be forthcoming. But for now, watch those speakers listed above present their conflicting viewpoints in what, including other public comments on a proposed shooting ban in the Clearback subdivision off Rockland Road, ended up stretching the prescribed 40-minute public comments period to nearly 80 minutes Tuesday morning in this Royal Examiner video:
Council seeks clarification on guns into town offices & meetings request
The march of 2nd Amendment advocates recruiting local municipal governments to become “sanctuaries” against State laws passed by the Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly continues. At the Monday, August 3, Front Royal Town Council work session a new resolution seeking local immunity from a new state law allowing municipalities to join the Commonwealth in banning the carrying of weapons into government buildings, meeting rooms and other properties was brought to council by staff.
The request for passage of the newest 2nd Amendment sanctuary rebellion against the current Democratic-controlled state government’s gun-control legislation was brought to council by Paul Aldridge, who was not present Monday, in mid-July. Both the Town and County approved “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” resolutions brought before them late last year, joining a number of conservative municipalities resolving not to enforce proposed gun control laws before the General Assembly.
As to the newest proposed resolution, it references VA Code Section 15.2-915(E). That newly passed state code states “…a locality may adopt an ordinance that prohibits the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof…” in government buildings and open spaces or spaces utilized for permitted community events or other municipal or recreational activities.
The code, as with others approved this year regarding background checks and red flag laws, appears to be a Democratic initiative to head off the type of mass shooting violence that has become uncomfortably common in the U.S. in recent decades. However, certain 2nd Amendment “purists”, for lack of a better term, in Virginia and other politically conservative states and regions have taken such gun control legislation as an assault on their 2nd Amendment right to, not only own a firearm but “bear it” in any public context in which they see fit.
Monday night’s discussion indicated some confusion as to what was being asked as it applied, not only to existing town codes regarding citizens being given carte blanche to come armed into Town Hall and any town council or other board or commission meeting or visit to any town official or departmental office. In the end, council asked for more detail on the impacts of approval of the resolution to continue the discussion at a coming work session. But what a discussion it was to get to that “stay tuned for our next exciting episode” on this crucial request pitting some people’s perception of their 2nd Amendment right “to bear Arms” versus other people’s perception of their “inalienable right” of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” without being randomly gunned down by an armed citizen having a bad day.
Town Attorney Doug Napier explained that the above-referenced state code allowed municipalities “including the town” to set their own guidelines on firearms in public places, a power they did not previously have in this Dillon Rule state where no jurisdiction can pass laws that goes beyond what state law has set forth.
“Now localities, including the town, are allowed to allow firearms, they are allowed not to allow firearms. Obviously, this is something that is political and a policy issue, as opposed to a legal issue,” Napier told council, pointing to matters of concern on a decision on the requested resolution.
As the town attorney pointed out in the subsequent discussion, by passing the resolution the town’s elected officials would commit themselves legally to “not exercise any authority granted to it by § 15.2-915(E) of the Code of Virginia to regulate or prohibit the otherwise legal purchase, possession, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
“If this is passed in its entirety, would you feel comfortable to allow the public to bring firearms into Town Hall? We have ladies in the finance department downstairs dealing with members of the public who have had their utilities cut off. Sometimes people feel a little agitated with that,” Napier observed.
He also noted that while council at meetings and work sessions has a security presence of town police, as illustrated Monday night by an armed FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis – whom later acknowledged he had not yet been consulted on the requested resolution – but that other boards and commissions do not normally have that same armed Town security presence in meetings the town attorney described as occasionally volatile with zoning, building-permitting, and business operations at issue.
“Would you feel comfortable in that situation,” Napier asked council of allowing armed involved citizens making their cases toward a sometimes unhappy town appointed, or elected, board resolution of their request?
As to the potential of barring firearms from public park areas where alcohol consumption might be prohibited, other than special festival events and which it could on occasion have been consumed illegally, the town attorney also pointed to the potentially volatile mix of alcohol and firearms.
Napier then noted that the Town Employee Handbook prohibits employees from being armed on the job, other of course than police officers. How would the requested resolution impact that employee prohibition, Napier asked.
“And then the issue is, do you want employees to carry firearms?” Napier told council, wondering if council would try to allow it for some, but not others – “So, these are some of the issues to consider.”
OK – Everyone but employees?
“Does this resolution affect our employee handbook directly?” Councilman Jacob Meza asked. Napier’s response was “not directly” to which Meza observed, “But we wouldn’t have to address that unless we wanted to consider letting our employees having handguns to defend themselves against crazy people coming in and try to shoot up the place. That doesn’t have a bearing on the resolution,” Meza reasoned.
“Not directly,” the town attorney replied, stumbling to find the proper wording to describe the indirect bearing it might have, which essentially was approving the resolution would contradict the employee handbook’s prohibition on employees, who are also citizens, carrying firearms to work, potentially now as a means of self-defense against armed citizens unhappy with some town action or issue.
“So, everybody but employees could carry firearms,” Napier said of the impact of approving the resolution under current town employee handbook guidelines.
As discussion progressed into the different treatment employees faced from all other citizens and visitors to the town due to the handbook prohibition, Meza said, “I have no desire to change our handbook employee policy for this …” He added he would defer to the interim town manager, if he wanted to do a poll to establish whether the employee handbook needed to be altered as a consequence of approval of the requested resolution.
Councilwoman Lori Cockrell observed that council’s meeting were at the County-owned government center, so council likely did not have the authority to authorize the carrying of weapons, at least into Town meetings at the Warren County Government Center. A similar resolution request is also apparently before the County at this time.
No guns in Town Hall, no tourists?
The resolution presented to the Front Royal Town Council Monday evening actually referenced passage of any local firearms prohibitions into government facilities and properties as having a potential negative affect on tourism.
“… and WHEREAS, certain legislation has been passed in the Virginia General Assembly that allows localities to, by ordinance, ban otherwise lawfully possessed and transported firearms from certain public spaces, causing law-abiding citizens to be exposed to a patchwork of local ordinances as they travel throughout the Commonwealth,
“and WHEREAS, the Front Royal Town Council acknowledges the significant economic contribution made to our community by tourists and visitors and does not wish to discourage travel to Front Royal,
“and WHEREAS, Front Royal wishes to welcome all law-abiding citizens who wish to live in, visit, or otherwise participate in the economy of our community, including those citizens and visitors who choose to legally carry a firearm for personal protection, and …” the resolution continues toward the requested Town “resolution/reservation of its right” to make all citizens and employees at its facilities and recreational properties less exposed to the potential of random or directed gun violence.
See this nearly 15-minute discussion about 15 minutes into the work session, as well as other council business, including updates on the town building mural art project; applications for the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief funding – 25 of 50 business applications for relief approved and $225,000 of $1.2 million in relief funding approved to those 25 qualifying applicants; South Street Capital Improvement plans; and a potential change to town vending-peddling regulations allowing for competition in the ice cream truck sale of frozen treats town-wide in this Royal Examiner video. Currently only former Mayor Hollis Tharpe is “grandfathered” in to sell frozen treats town-wide. C&C Frozen Treats owner William Huck would like to change that existing one-truck monopoly, staff indicated.
Oh, and Mr. Tharpe’s mayoral portrait was back in its place on the 2nd floor Town Hall meeting room wall Monday night.
Front Royal Scavenger Hunt #2
Scavenger Hunt & Contests Rules and Regulations:
- The weekly Scavenger hunts and other contests will run weekly from Monday, July 27-Friday, August 23.
- No purchase is necessary to enter.
- No age limits or age restrictions to participate in the scavenger hunt.
- If anyone under the age of 18 is involved in your group’s scavenger hunt, they must always be supervised by their parents or other adults in the group.
- Must be 18 years old to win and claim prize.
- All illegal activity is forbidden.
- Vandalism, trespassing and creating a nuisance are grounds for disqualification and appropriate action by the Town of Front Royal.
- Participants must obey all traffic laws and practice caution when crossing streets, walking on town roads/streets and driving a vehicle.
- The Town of Front Royal is not responsible for incidents, tickets, accidents or injuries that occur during the scavenger hunt or in pursuit of items related to hunt.
- Play Fair-Have fun and try to win but don’t let your competitive instincts drive you to take chances or ruin other people’s chance to win.
- Participants must submit scavenger hunt answers to email@example.com to qualify for prizes.
- Winners will be chosen at random from answers emailed to above email address.
- Prizes will be drawn (at random) each Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the previous week.
- Town of Front Royal Employees or Elected Officials with budget authority or oversite are not eligible to win prizes.
- Board Members or Executive Committee Members of the Front Royal Independent Business Alliance are not eligible to win aforementioned prizes.
- Board Members or Employees of the Front Royal Warren County Chamber of Commerce are not eligible to win aforementioned prizes.
- No prizes will be mailed. All prizes must be picked up at the FRWC Chamber of Commerce office, the Royal Examiner office, or The River 95.3 radio station by appointment. Please bring a valid driver’s license or other official document which validates age.
- All prizes have been obtained from local businesses in the Town of Front Royal and can be redeemed for goods and services in the respective business.
#SupportLocal #ShopLocal #EatLocal #BackToBusiness #BacktoNature
CARES Act and REBUILD! Virginia informational WebEx on Friday, August 7th, 9:00 am
The Town of Front Royal in partnership with the consulting firm, Strategic Solutions by Tricia (SST), will host a webinar to Front Royal local businesses to aid in kick-starting business recovery.
The webinar will include guidance and actionable steps for navigating small business relief through CARES Act grants and REBUILD! VA grants. Interested business owners can join the meeting by visiting http://www.frontroyalva.com/meeting
● CARES Act Application: www.FrontRoyalVA.com/CARES
● Rebuild! VA Information: www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva/
The Town of Front Royal supports local businesses in getting #BackToBusiness#BackTo Nature. Front Royal has never allowed setbacks to stop our Town from coming together and supporting each other. We are a resilient community. Together, we will recover and be stronger than ever.
About Rebuild! VA
The Rebuild VA Grant Fund is a program to help small businesses and non-profits whose normal operations were disrupted by COVID-19, including restaurants, brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness facilities, personal care, and personal grooming services, entertainment and public amusement establishments, and campgrounds.
Businesses and non-profits that are approved for a Rebuild VA grant may receive up to 3 times their average monthly eligible expenses up to a maximum of $10,000.
Who is eligible for the grant?
Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
The business or non-profit must be organized as one of the following:
Corporation (C-Corp), pass-through entity (S-Corp, Partnership, LLC), or other legal entity that is organized separately from the owner; A 501(c)(3), 501(c)(7), 501(c)(19) organization or a Virginia tribe; A sole proprietorship; or An independent contractor.
The business or non-profit must also fall within one of the following businesses categories:
Restaurant and Beverage Services
Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, cideries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, and farmers markets (or vendors within the farmers market)
Non-essential Brick and Mortar Retail
Non-essential brick and mortar retail establishments include everything EXCEPT the following:
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers; Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology; Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities; Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers; Lawn and garden equipment retailers; Beer, wine, and liquor stores; Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores; Retail located within healthcare facilities; Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions; Pet and feed stores; Printing and office supply stores; and Laundromats and dry cleaners.
Fitness and Exercise Facilities
Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, swimming pools, indoor sports facilities, and indoor exercise facilities
Personal Care and Personal Grooming Services
Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage practices, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed
Entertainment and Public Amusement
Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, racetracks, historic horse racing facilities, bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs
Private Campgrounds and Overnight Summer Camps
The business or non-profit must meet the following additional eligibility criteria:
Principal Place of Business is in Virginia
25 or fewer full-time employees
Gross revenue of less than $1.5 million in the last fiscal year
Operating prior to March 12, 2020
Currently, in good standing with the Virginia State Corporation Commission
The applicant must engage in legal activity
The following applicants are ineligible for the Rebuild VA grant funds:
Applicants that are not individually owned and operated; Applicants that have already received CARES Act funding from any federal, state, regional or local agency or authority; Applicants that are delinquent on Virginia state income taxes and do not have a payment plan in place; Applicants that are lobbyists; An applicant, owner, or a principal of the business with 20 percent or greater ownership interest is more than sixty (60) days delinquent on child support obligations.
The Year Without A Summer : “Eighteen Hundred & Froze To Death”
The year 1816 was known as “ The Year Without a Summer” in New England because six inches of snow fell in June, and every month of that year had a hard frost.
Temperatures dropped to as low as 40 degrees F. in July and August as far south as Connecticut. People also called it “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death” and the “Poverty Year.”
The Year Without A Summer had a far-reaching impact. Crop failures caused hoarding and big price increases for agricultural commodities. People went hungry. Farmers gave up trying to make a living in New England and started heading west. Politicians who ignored the melancholy plight of their constituents found themselves voted out of office.
Most scientists agree that what most likely caused the bizarre weather in The Year Without a Summer was the monumental explosive eruption of the volcano Mt. Tambora in Indonesia in April 1815, the year before. Said to be the loudest explosion in recorded history—even slightly surpassing that of Krakatoa in August 1883— the volcano put out such a volume of dust, ash, and chemical cloud high into the atmosphere that it lowered worldwide temperatures by half a degree; while that may not seem much, the global cooling was responsible in the U.S., for frosts and cold weather which ravaged the New England growing season, prompting cries of a “year without a summer”, and migration into western territories and states. Plunging temperatures also broke the monsoon cycle in Asia, sending India into famine and triggering a cholera epidemic of unprecedented severity.
The dust and ash clouds in the high atmosphere also produced some of the most spectacular sunsets ever witnessed, with most of them of green or violet hues. There were warm days in the spring of 1816, but they were followed by cold snaps. In Salem, Mass., for example, it was 74 degrees F. on the 24th of April. Within 30 hours the temperature dropped to 21 degrees F.
Thomas Robbins, the East Windsor, Conn., bibliophile, noticed the late spring of 1816. He wrote in his diary, “the vegetation does not seem to advance at all.”
On the 12th of May, strong winds and freezing temperatures from Canada killed the buds on fruit trees. Inch-thick ice formed on ponds and streams from Maine to upstate New York. By the end of May, corn plants froze in central Maine.
Then, on the 6th of June 1816, six inches of snow fell on New England. Clockmaker Chauncey Jerome of Plymouth, Conn., wrote in his autobiography that he walked to work that day wearing heavy woolen clothes, an overcoat, and mittens.
Snow flurries fell in Boston the next day, the latest ever recorded. The snow was 18 inches deep in Cabot, Vt., on the 8th of June. Three days later, on the 11th of June, a temperature of 30.5 degrees F. was recorded in Williamstown, Mass. Frozen birds dropped dead in the fields; in Vermont, some farmers who had already shorn their sheep tried to tie their fleeces back on, but many froze to death anyway.
Benjamin Harwood, a Bennington, Vt., farmer, wrote in his diary for the 11th of June that “…it rained all night, then it began to snow from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tops of all the mountains on every side were crowned with snow. The most gloomy and extraordinary weather ever seen.”
And then it got warm again.
Temperatures seesawed up and down throughout the Year Without a Summer, bringing hope on warm days that the crops could be harvested after all. Then sharp cold spells brought new despair. On the 22nd of June, for example, temperatures reached 101 degrees F. in Salem, Mass. But the 4th of July was quite cool. Our Plymouth, Conn., clockmaker observer Chauncey Jerome noted in his autobiography that it was hard to feel patriotic while watching men play quoits in overcoats. Then a northwest wind brought a three-day cold spell, with 30-degree cold temperatures in northern New England, and 40 degrees F. in Hartford and New Haven.
The frost destroyed the bean crop in Franconia, N.H., and bean, cucumber, and squash crops in Kennebunkport, Maine. Young plants grew so slowly they were vulnerable to frost, and farmers harvested so little hay they had to either slaughter their livestock or feed them oats and corn. As depressing as the second severe cold spell was, the drought which enveloped most of the United States, including New England, seemed worse. “I never saw our streets so dry,” complained a minister in East Windsor, Conn.
Gov. William Jones of Rhode Island issued a proclamation designating a day of public ‘Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving,’ noting the “coldness and dryness of the seasons” and the “alarming sickness.” In New Hampshire, Gov. William Plumer believed the weather was divine Providence’s judgment in the earth and urged people to humble themselves for their transgressions. Fears of famine began to grow during the Year Without a Summer.
He blamed God for the Year Without a Summer.
Early August was sunny and warm. Farmers planted new crops, hoping the growing season might last beyond the first frost in October. But on the 13th and 14th of August, a cold spell froze the corn crop on farms north of Concord, N.H.
Less than a week later, on the 20th of August, at Amherst, N. H., a short but violent storm struck, signaling a steep drop in temperature of 30 degrees within a few hours. It snowed that day in Vermont; in Maine, farmers wrapped rags around their plants to protect them.
In some of the New England states, at least the wheat, rye, and potatoes were holding up, staving off famine. In Ashland, N.H., Reuben Whitten was able to grow wheat on his south-facing farm. He shared what he had with his neighbors. After he died thirty years later, in 1847, his neighbors paid for his gravestone and later erected a monument that read, in the spelling of the local stonecutter :
“A pioneer of this town. Cold season of 1816 raised 40 bushils of wheat on this land whitch kept his family and his neighbours from starveation.”
Hopes of salvaging what remained of the corn crop were dashed by another severe frost on the 28th of August. In Maine and New Hampshire, farmers cut-up whole fields of corn for cattle and horse fodder. Writing in his diary in Kittery, Maine, Rev. William Fogg summed up the Year Without a Summer: “Crops cut short and a heavy load of taxes.”
There were reports of people eating raccoons, mackerel, and pigeons.
As is usual in early Autumn in New England, the days warmed up again in September, but then at sunrise on the 26th of September in Hanover, N.H., thermometers read 26 degrees F. Snow fell throughout the region, followed by a killing frost which froze crops in the field and apples on the branch. As if this was not enough, the drought caused wildfires to break out in the woods throughout New England. Fires in western New York produced so much smoke that sailors were blinded on Lake Champlain.
The Year Without a Summer was especially hard on the poor. The New Hampshire Patriot reported on the 22nd of October 1816: “Indian corn, on which a large proportion of the poor depends, is cut off.” Vermont farmers lost much of their livestock, and Vermonters foraged for food such as nettles, wild turnips, and hedgehogs.
Three-quarters of the corn crop throughout New England was lost during Eighteen Hundred & Froze To Death. Prices soared for wheat, grains, meat, vegetables, butter, milk, and flour. In Maine, the price of oats tripled and potatoes doubled. Hay was $180 a ton in parts of New Hampshire—six times its usual cost.
New England was not the only region afflicted by global cooling. 1816 brought cold and widespread famines in Europe as well. The bad weather in Switzerland forced a group of poets of a literary club to remain in their rooms. In a friendly competition among the writers, the group held a contest to see who could write the best piece. Perhaps reflecting on the atmospheric conditions and the boredom they brought, Mary Shelley wrote her tale of Frankenstein.
At least the Year Without a Summer had been good for producing maple syrup in Vermont, and Vermonters traded syrup for fish, which is why they called 1816 the “Mackerel Year.”
In Washington, Members of Congress seemed insensitive to the suffering of the people they were elected to represent and voted to double their own salaries. It did not go over well. Nearly 70 percent of the incumbent U.S. representatives were voted out of office in the next elections. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts was one of them.
Daniel Webster lost his bid for re-election during the Year Without a Summer.
In 1817, after the Year Without a Summer was history, Josiah Meigs, commissioner-general of the Land Offices, began a more systematic approach to observing weather phenomena. He ordered the twenty Land Offices under his authority to take thrice-daily recordings of the temperature, winds, and precipitation. Author Samuel Goodrich visited New Hampshire, observing:
Samuel Goodrich described the despair that seized people during the Year Without a Summer.
“At last a kind of despair seized upon the people. In the pressure of adversity, many persons lost their judgment, and thousands feared or felt that New England was destined, henceforth, to become part of the frigid zone.” Indeed, 1817 started out cold as well, convincing Northeast farmers it was time to migrate to the Midwest.
Rev. Samuel Robbins in East Windsor, Conn., wrote, “We have had a great deal of movings this spring. Our number rather diminished here.”
At the time, many reasons were given for the weird weather phenomena: sunspots, deforestations, great fields of ice floating in the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod experiments (more than fifty years before), and, of course, the wrath of God.
As we now know, the Year Without a Summer was most likely caused by the massive volcanic explosion on Mt. Tambora in April 1815, killing 15,000 instantly, and, as time went on, another 65,000 perishing of disease and starvation.
Virginia State Police urging travel safety during tropical storm
As the Virginia State Police prepares for Tropical Storm Isaias, Virginians are encouraged to get ready and plan ahead, too. Forecasts are currently calling for the eastern and central regions of the Commonwealth to be significantly impacted by heavy rains and strong winds.
Virginia State Police have all available troopers and supervisors working through the night and Tuesday as the storm makes its way across the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.
If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:
- Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a storm, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash, downed trees and/or debris in the roadway. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
- Turn Around. Don’t Drown. Never drive through standing water. What looks like a puddle can be deep and swift-moving water. Turn around and find another, safer route to your destination.
- Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on wet road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
- Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better, especially in a downpour when visibility is limited.
- Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during inclement weather are caused by vehicles sliding off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
- Put down your phone. Having to drive in heavy rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as these actions put you, your passengers and other vehicles at extreme risk of a crash and/or injury.
- Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, tire tread, battery life, etc.
For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone, download the App or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website at www.511virginia.org.
Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.