Road Trip Tips; Three Things to Know This Summer

cars in heavy traffic

The last work email has been sent, the mail delivery stopped and the kids are packed, time to jump in the car to go on that long awaited escape to…and then you hit the Beltway, I-66 or I-95 and you realize your escape may take much longer than you thought.

Here are three tips to help you get on your way and arrive at your destination safely and as timely as possible:


1. Plan Ahead
VDOT map show common July 4 congestion spots on major highways.


For I-66 Travelers:

If you are taking I-66 outside the Beltway, be aware that a significant construction project is underway:

  • Initial traffic shifts will move the travel lanes on I-66 toward the center of the roadway to allow construction crews to work safely on the outside shoulder area of I-66 (right hand side for drivers).
  • Four travel lanes remain open during peak travel periods.
  • Multiple lane closures during overnight periods and on weekends.
  • The “red X” signs in use between Route 50 and I-495 will be taken out of service as traffic is shifted.
  • HOV-2 regulations on I-66 will remain in effect weekdays from 5:30-9:30 a.m. in the eastbound direction and 3-7 p.m. in the westbound direction.

For All Virginia Travelers:

  • The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has a 511 app, which offers information about construction, traffic, incidents and congestion, as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. This free mobile VDOT 511 app is available online.
  • Traffic information is also available at, or by calling 511 from any phone.


2. Be Prepared

We already have had some really hot weather this summer and  the last thing you want to happen is for your car to breakdown on the road. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out.

  • Take care of your car before you leave – Fill up your tank and check your tire pressure, wiper fluid and oil.
  • Take care of yourself and your passengers – Bring a cooler with plenty of water for the length of your trip, as well as snacks.  Games and books will make a trip that is longer than planned more bearable for younger passengers.


3. Drive Safely

Three things to know about distracted driving:

  1. Texting while driving is illegal in Virginia and most other states. In Virginia it is a primary offense, which means you may be stopped if suspected of texting while driving.
  2. At any given daylight moment across the country, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
  3. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.

More safety tips:

  • Buckle up and make sure car seats are properly installed.
  • If you plan to drink, have a designated driver.
  • Never drive while you are tired or drowsy.
  • Check the weather forecast along your route so you are prepared for storms and rain.



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