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Emergency personnel respond to hundreds of crashes during winter weather

Loudoun’s first winter weather of the season left emergency personnel working overtime, responding to hundreds of crashes as the snow and sleet fell.

On Dec. 24, when the county saw about 2 to 3 inches of snow, depending on the location, Loudoun County deputies responded to 100 accidents, according to Kraig Troxell, spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office. The following day, deputies were called to the scene of 13 crashes.

By Dec. 26, when snow, sleet and rain left Loudoun a slushy mess, deputies worked the scene at 54 traffic-related calls.

Virginia State Police were just as busy.

Statewide, they received 1,920 calls for service from 12:01 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 26, according to Corinne Geller, spokesperson for VSP.

Of those calls, 686 were crashes,  including one that involved a fatality in Campbell County.

In Division VII, which includes Prince William, Loudoun and Fairfax counties and Arlington and Alexandria, officers responded to 328 calls for service. Of those calls 69 were crashes and 46 were disabled vehicles.

But as one round of winter weather has passed, a second is on its way.

The National Weather Service has forecast more snow for Loudoun, starting Friday and continuing into Saturday. The accumulation is likely not to top more than an inch, but police are asking drivers to use caution.

Those who must travel are reminded by VSP of the following safety tips:

•Drive for conditions. Slow down when possible.

•Make sure headlights, taillights and windshield wipers are in working order. Brush snow off taillights, headlights and windows to increase visibility.

•Increase driving distances. Give yourself more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you should lose control or the vehicle in front of you loses control, you will need that extra driving space to safely react and stop.

•Always wear your seat belt.

•Give yourself extra drive time. Bring along your cellphone charger, and be prepared for winter travel. YouTube video and tips from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on driver safety in winter weather can be found at http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/winter/winter-preparedness-week.

•For drivers traveling in the regions experiencing mainly rain, remember that state law does require vehicles to have their headlights on when windshield wipers are activated. Also, beware of standing water as the heavy rains are causing water to pool on the roadways. Never go through high water.

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