Thousands of people in the metro Richmond area are still reeling from the effects of this weekend’s powerful thunderstorms. In fact, here at Weiland Upton, we are suffering from the aftermath of the severe weather as well. While Dominion Power attempts to restore electricity to Virginia residents, large blackouts can cause major traffic headaches. Summer in Virginia brings heavy storms and the occasional hurricane. If you find yourself out on the roads during a major blackout, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Police officers are out in force: During any emergency situation (including power outages), there are likely to be more police on the roadways keep order and enforcing the rules of the road. Slow down so that you don’t receive a speeding ticket and pay attention to your surroundings. Police may have to divert traffic if trees or power lines are down, or if traffic lights are not functioning.
Stop lights may not work: If you encounter a stoplight that has lost power, Virginia law says you must treat it as a stop sign. We receive numerous calls after power outages from clients who received a ticket for failing to obey a stop sign. Many people have never encountered or received a ticket for going through a non-working traffic light and are unsure what to do. So next time you come across one after a storm, make sure you stop.
Report all traffic incidents: Unfortunately, the chaos during a blackout or after a major storm also creates chaos on the roads. Downed trees, changes in traffic patterns, and non-functioning stop lights can lead to lots of confusions among drivers and plenty of accidents. Always report any traffic incident to the police. This will help you avoid being charged with other crimes such as hit-and-run.
And if you ever find yourself facing a traffic violation or crime in the state of Virginia, call our office. Major storms and prolonged power outages can be a confusing time for drivers. We are always a call or an e-mail away, ready to assist you in attaining the best possible result in your Virginia traffic case.