After a wintry mix, beware ice on DC-area roads

WASHINGTON — After a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow fell on much of the D.C. area Monday, drivers are being advised to watch for icy conditions, especially on the smaller highways and neighborhood streets.

Bob Immler, in the WTOP Traffic Center, said that those smaller roads, which hadn’t necessarily had the benefit of aggressive de-icing treatments or pavement-warming heavy traffic, could be freezing over as night falls, temperatures hover around freezing and the road temperatures, given the frigid conditions of the past two weeks, are way below that.

As always, elevated roadways such as bridges will freeze before surface roads, Immler added.
Sidewalks, he said, could be freezing over as the night goes on, so pedestrians should watch their steps as well. A Winter Weather Advisory was in effect for most of the area until 9 p.m.

“If you have to be out driving in these conditions … you want to treat it like it’s icy,” said Dave Dildine in the Traffic Center. “You definitely want your headlights on. Give yourself extra stopping room, especially in high braking situations, like near traffic lights and places that are normally congested.”

If you find yourself behind a salt truck or a plow, Dildine said, give them even more leeway: “They need room to work — keep back 50 or 100 feet.”

“Motorists should remain cautious of potentially slick road surfaces and use safe speed,” the Maryland State Highway Administration said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Ellen Kamilakis, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, was even more blunt in her assessment: “The only strategy to driving on the ice is just not to do it,” she told WTOP.

People walk and skate one the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
People walk and skate on the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
People walk one the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
People walk one the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
A visitors push her stroller on the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A visitors push her stroller on the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
A man is bundled up as he walks past a steam grate on Jan. 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. A winter storm is traveling up the East Coast overnight with significant accumulations of snow possible. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A man is bundled up as he walks past a steam grate on Jan. 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. A winter storm traveled up the East Coast with significant accumulations of snow. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03:  A women is bundled up as she walks past a steam grate on January 3, 2018 in Washington, DC. A winter storm is traveling up the east coast overnight with significant accumulationsÊof snow possible.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A women is bundled up as she walks past a steam grate on Jan. 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04:  Architect of the Capitol Gardener Mike Naas sweeps snow in front of the U.S. Capitol January 4, 2018 in Washington, United States. A large winter storm system dropped less than an inch of snow in Washington and is covering the East Coast with high winds and frigid temperatures.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Architect of the Capitol Gardener Mike Naas sweeps snow in front of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 4, 2018 in Washington, D.C. A large winter storm system dropped less than an inch of snow in Washington and is covering the East Coast with high winds and frigid temperatures. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
People are seen walking alongside the reflecting pool on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. have awakened to the beginnings of a massive winter storm expected to deliver snow, ice and high winds followed by possible record-breaking cold as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Maine. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
People are seen walking alongside the reflecting pool on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. have awakened to the beginnings of a massive winter storm expected to deliver snow, ice and high winds followed by possible record-breaking cold as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Maine. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors are careful not to slip as they begin to make their way down the stairs after visiting the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors are careful not to slip as they begin to make their way down the stairs after visiting the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. have awakened to the beginnings of a massive winter storm expected to deliver snow, ice and high winds followed by possible record-breaking cold as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Maine. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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People walk and skate one the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
People walk one the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A visitors push her stroller on the frozen Reflecting Pool at the National Mall, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Washington. The bitter cold that followed a massive East Coast snowstorm should begin to lessen as temperatures inch up and climb past freezing next week. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A man is bundled up as he walks past a steam grate on Jan. 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. A winter storm is traveling up the East Coast overnight with significant accumulations of snow possible. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03:  A women is bundled up as she walks past a steam grate on January 3, 2018 in Washington, DC. A winter storm is traveling up the east coast overnight with significant accumulationsÊof snow possible.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04:  Architect of the Capitol Gardener Mike Naas sweeps snow in front of the U.S. Capitol January 4, 2018 in Washington, United States. A large winter storm system dropped less than an inch of snow in Washington and is covering the East Coast with high winds and frigid temperatures.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
People are seen walking alongside the reflecting pool on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. have awakened to the beginnings of a massive winter storm expected to deliver snow, ice and high winds followed by possible record-breaking cold as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Maine. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors are careful not to slip as they begin to make their way down the stairs after visiting the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Monday’s afternoon rush hour came early to the D.C. area, as people headed home from work and school ahead of schedule in advance of the heavy weather. Several major school systems in the area dismissed students hours early in advance of the weather. Some public school systems, including Fairfax and Loudoun County, didn’t open at all.

Warmer weather is coming, however — Tuesday’s high is predicted to be 45 degrees.

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WTOP’s William Vitka and Patrick Roth, and The Associated Press, contributed to this report.


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