AAA Mid-Atlantic: Manic, Messy Monday Ahead for Motorists
Nor’easter and Delaware River Bridge closure to make for commuting challenges today
Hamilton, NJ (January 23, 2017) – The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather advisory, for heavy rain, high winds and coastal flooding for the New Jersey area throughout the day today. Rain and wind will make for messy, and somewhat dangerous, Monday commuting for area motorists.
“Many motorists view rain storms as more of an inconvenience than a hazard,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As a result, drivers tend to be less cautious than they should be. The most important steps to take when driving in wet and windy weather are to buckle up, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.”
AAA urges motorists to give themselves plenty of extra time today, as well as to follow the following safe driving tips when it comes to driving in heavy rain and high wind.
AAA: 10 Safety Tips for Wet Weather Driving
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown! As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your car and potentially stall your engine. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads Turn around; find another way to get to your destination. Pull over to a safe location if needed.
- Seek higher ground - If your vehicle stalls or is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately.
- Never drive through standing water - Standing water can be deceiving and motorists should avoid it. No matter how shallow it may appear, water may be concealing downed power lines, be deeper than it appears, or have significant force from flooding, etc.
- Slow down, brake early and drive with greater caution and alertness - Drivers are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when roads are wet so reduce speed and keep your eyes and mind on the road. Brake early, but not hard, to allow the time needed to slow the car down.
- Increase following distance – This is even more important when driving near vans, recreational vehicles and cars pulling trailers that may be adversely affected by the wind.
- Use the central lanes - When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
- Know your vehicle - Light cars, vans and other "boxy" vehicles have a tendency to be blown by strong gusts of wind.
- Watch for hydroplaning - No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Even if brakes work under normal conditions that doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with less traction. Also, turn off cruise control as it can cause hydroplaning.
- Use your defroster - Keep the air inside your car dry and prevent windows from fogging by using your defroster along with your air conditioner.
- Take the nearest exit - If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
Delaware River Bridge Closed for Emergency Repairs
In addition to weather concerns, Monday morning will pose challenges for commuters who use the Delaware River Bridge. The bridge was closed on Friday and will remain closed until it can be inspected and structure deficiencies can be properly fixed.
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission says commuters in Bucks (PA) and Mercer (NJ) counties should allow plenty of extra time to reach their destinations and to “exercise caution in deference to the regional travel emergency arising from the closure of the bridge linking the two state turnpikes.”
This alert applies to the Commission’s five southerly crossings:
- Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge (both directions)
- Scudder Falls (I-95) Bridge (both directions)
- Lower Trenton ("Trenton Makes") Toll-Supported Bridge (eastbound)
- Calhoun Street Toll-Supported Bridge (eastbound)
- Washington Crossing Toll-Supported Bridge (eastbound)
I-276 eastbound is closed and detoured at PA exit 358. Local roadways under the bridge including Radcliff Street, Palmer Avenue and Wood Avenue are also closed until further notice. Motorists traveling east from Route 130 will be able to use Interchange 6 to access the New Jersey Turnpike via the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension. The westbound Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension will remain closed to all traffic; there will be no access to Interchange 6 from that direction.
Motorists should consider carpooling, working from home, changing work hours or public transit in order to ease extreme congestion and delays.
The following detours are in place:
- Motorists heading to New Jersey will be detoured at PA Turnpike Exit 351 to Route 1 northbound to I-95 northbound, which becomes I-295 southbound in New Jersey, to I-195 eastbound to the New Jersey Turnpike. PA Turnpike Exit #358, Delaware Valley, will remain open for local traffic only; watch out for a single-lane pattern approaching Delaware Valley.
- Motorists heading to Pennsylvania will be detoured at New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 7A to I-195 westbound to I-295 northbound, which becomes I-95 southbound; or from New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 5 to Mount Holly Road. Motorists traveling from northern New Jersey are advised to exit at Interchange 14 and use I-78 west into Pennsylvania.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 56 million members nationwide and nearly two million members in New Jersey. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit https://aaa.com