Treacherous road conditions lead to 16-vehicle crash in Northwest DC

WASHINGTON — Dangerous, icy road conditions Monday in the D.C. region resulted in a 16-vehicle pileup on Military Road that closed westbound lanes for hours during the rush hour commute.

Travel was treacherous enough that most major school systems in Virginia and Maryland issued delays. Several in the area are closed.

Ice — especially black ice — was the primary danger for drivers during the morning hours.

D.C. police reported a multivehicle crash on Military Road at 16th Street NW. Westbound Military Road was closed from 14th Street NW to Oregon Avenue for hours before reopening around 10 a.m. Before that, eastbound lanes had been briefly shuttered.

DDOT sources told WTOP that 16 vehicles, including a school bus, were involved in the ice-related crash and that speed was a factor.


Maryland State Police cautioned drivers to use slow down because of the icy conditions.

From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Maryland State Police responded to 333 crashes and 81 calls for disabled vehicles.

“We had 181 crashes reported where there was just a really minor fender bender. In total, we had over 300 crashes due to this adverse weather statewide. It certainly is more than we see on a normal Sunday evening,” said police spokeswoman Elena Russo.

Closings & Delays:


In Virginia: Rappahannock, Clarke, Loudoun and Fauquier County schools will be closed.

Loudoun County Public Schools had initially said they would be opening on a two-hour delay but later told parents that they would be closed because temperatures dropped seven degrees since their initial assessment.

Fredericksburg City, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Culpeper and Prince William County school systems will open two hours late.

In Maryland: Carroll and Howard County schools will be closed.

Prince George’s, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Frederick and Charles County school systems will open two hours late.

Get full coverage at WTOP’s Closings and Delays page.

Monday will be cold and blustery. The National Weather Service reports that gusts up to 35 mph are expected after sunrise into the early afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to stay in the 30s but wind chills will feel more like 10.

While snow and sleet had subsided by Sunday afternoon, freezing rain fell across most of the area for the rest of the day, leaving behind a glaze of ice on the ground.

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement for the WTOP listening area, warning drivers that lingering moisture and dropping temperatures will make for patches of ice. Roads that look wet can actually be glazed in ice.


Meteorologist Matt Ritter had warned that refreezing roads would pose significant problems for commuters Monday, far more than those faced Sunday. Ritter said heavy rains may have washed away road treatments.

Some winter weather advisories in the region, including D.C., were canceled earlier than expected Sunday, but transportation officials still warned those driving to and from Super Bowl parties of the dangerous road conditions.

“We want to tell people to use an abundance of caution even walking on the sidewalk, let alone driving,” said Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar.

“It only takes about a mile of different terrain to drop pavement temperatures by a degree. So, you might think you’re on wet pavement and then you can hit a slick spot,” Gischlar said.

Power outages were widely reported throughout the area Sunday, particularly in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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