Early on Monday, hazardous weather conditions including severe ice and snow caused a multi-truck crash that blocked Virginia’s Interstate 95 highway almost entirely. With the road blocked off, motorists that were behind the trucks were forced to stop and wait, but as weather conditions slowed the response time of local authorities, the blockage gradually bloomed into a gigantic 48-mile gridlock that remains at a near standstill almost an entire day later.
“I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol,” Virginia Senator Tim Kaine tweeted from his car this morning.
Many drivers engaged in similar activities from their car seats, completely unable to move as the snow piled up around them. Some became fearful of being stuck long-term as the temperature gradually dropped into below-freezing as the sun went down. Local firefighters that managed to make their way to the trapped cars handed out water and blankets to keep drivers safe.
“This one for the record books,” Virginia local Susan Phalen, who is trapped in her car with four dogs, told CNN by phone call. “I could have walked there faster.”
“A lot of people … in the vicinity where I am have been turning their cars off to save gas, and then they’ll turn the car back on to heat it up a bit,” Phalen added.
Hundreds of motorists have been stuck in the snow for more than 15 hours along I-95 in Virginia after a crash brought traffic to a halt. People have been posting increasingly desperate messages on social media about running out of fuel, food and water. https://t.co/ASdw3KaFi7
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 4, 2022
Emergency efforts to clear the blockage are still ongoing. The trapped motorists have been advised to dial 911 if they find themselves in an emergency situation and need immediate rescue.