UPDATE: Holiday Travelers Face Turnpike Traffic

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

UPDATE 12/22/2012@11:00 p.m.
RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) --Those homeward bound for the holidays found turnpike traffic at a peak Christmas weekend.

"It's a really long drive, and we've got two dogs in the backseat," driver Bill Vandewaker said.

Saturday drivers got a much-needed break from slippery conditions, finding roads clear of the snow and ice that plagued them just one night earlier.

"That made us a little nervous so we were skeptical about what time to leave but decided this afternoon would be best," driver Stephanie Olenik said. "The roads have been clear."

Joe Garcia works at the Beckley Service Plaza and says they're overwhelmed with customers at this time of year, making for a busy schedule and some interesting conversation.

"I don't even have to watch the weather channel...I just talk to customers out here and they tell me what he weather is going to be," he said. "We see a lot of people sleeping in the parking lot, just taking a break," he said."

Drivers say although things are looking up, they never take safety for granted, always checking for dangers around the corner.

"[We use] the Android smartphone and all the little gadgets that keep us aware," Olenik said.

The state has a new 511 traffic app that allows you to monitor road conditions at your fingertips. And of course, you can always keep up with the latest road and weather updates by downloading the WSAZ.com app. for your smartphone.


KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va -- Slick roads made for some scary travels on the West Virginia Turnpike Friday evening for holiday drivers.

"It's just nasty, wet and snowy," driver Jessica Phillips said. "The roads are wet. "

With Christmas just around the corner, drivers came out in droves to brave the snow and ice, refusing to let Mother Nature put their holiday plans on hold.

"We came from Ohio so there's not as much [snow] down here," Fred Roberts said. "It's wet and slick. But where we live is really bad."

Thoughts of Florida sunshine was the only thing keeping Roberts going through the mess.

"We're staying a week in Florida and then we're going down to South Carolina to stay with friends for three or four days, so it'll be nice," he said.

The Williams family took a pit stop at a rest stop near Mahan to fuel up before heading back into the frigid weather. Dad Kenneth says the drive was tricky, but the trip was a whole lot more relaxing for his kids in the backseat.

"We've pretty much been bored so we've been playing on our phones and watching movies," Kenneth Jr. said.

Kenneth says he trusts his parents to use caution and drive safely to Christmas cheer.

"I'm just looking forward to spending time with the family and not crashing when we're driving," he said.

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