'Nobody Knows How Long' People Will Be Stranded on I-95 in Virginia, Says Driver: 'This Is Scary'
Hundreds of drivers were stranded overnight on Interstate 95 after a snowstorm in Virginia caused extreme delays — and while some have finally been able to get back home, others remain on the roads, unsure when this ordeal will end.
As a result of a highway closure in both directions due to multiple crashes caused by weather conditions, many people were stuck in standstill traffic for over 15 hours, spending the night in their vehicles.
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NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman was one of the drivers who was stranded overnight after attempting to make the drive back to Washington D.C., on Monday alongside his dog.
"I try not to tweet about daily inconveniences, but this experience has been insane," Lederman wrote at the beginning of a lengthy Twitter thread detailing his experience. "The interstate is absolutely littered with disabled vehicles. Not just cars. Semis, everything. Nobody can move."
"For a while, people tried to clear their stuck cars my [sic] shoveling with their feet. Most quickly gave up. But, then what? There is zero possibility for any tow truck to get to you right now in the thousands of cars backed up," Lederman added.
What began as feeling like a "really inconvenient" situation turned into a "scary" ordeal around the five-hour mark, Lederman continued.
"It's 27 degrees outside," he noted at the time on Twitter. "There is no way for medical or emergency personnel to reach people stuck in this."
"It's 2am. Are we here for the night? Should we try to hunker down, get warm and sleep? Is that safe? With the car on or off?" he added.
While still stranded in his car on Tuesday morning, Lederman gave an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, describing it as a "pretty insane and fairly dystopian experience."
"I can see thousands of cars where I am on the highway," he said. "Nobody knows how long we're going to be here or how we are going to get out."
"This is scary," he added. "You don't plan for a situation like this."
Fortunately, later that morning Lederman and his dog were able to make it back home.
"It was a crazy night," he told Today in an interview conducted at his home. "We were okay without having water and food but this was a scary situation."
"I think people expect given the weather we were having here that you might face some delays on the road, you might have serious delays. People were not anticipating, at least I certainly was not, that they would have to be spending the entire night waiting to see if anybody was going to come and clear the roads so that people would be able to get out," he added.
Another driver who was stranded overnight was Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
"I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I'm still not near the Capitol," he wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning, just before 8:30 a.m. local time. "My office is in touch with @VaDOT to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone."
Still stuck in traffic over an hour later, Kaine shared a follow-up message, highlighting a moment of extraordinary kindness that took place on the road.
"A CT family returning in a packed car from Florida walked by in the middle of the night handing out oranges as we were stopped for hours on I-95. Bless them!" he wrote.
In a message Tuesday morning, the VDOT Fredericksburg District shared that 1-95 remained closed.
"We continue to ask drivers in the Fredericksburg area to avoid travel with most roads in severe condition, meaning snow-covered with little to no visible pavement. Travel is expected to remain hazardous for most of the day," they wrote on Twitter.
In a separate message, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wrote that "state and local emergency personnel are continuing to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles, and re-route drivers."
"While sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road, all Virginians should continue to avoid 1-95," Northam added.
Kelly Hannon, communications manager for the VDOT Fredericksburg District, told CNN that power outages have impacted traffic cameras on the highway, causing more delays to their response time.
"This is unprecedented, and we continue to steadily move stopped trucks to make progress toward restoring lanes," VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer Marcie Parker said in a statement to WUSA9.
This story originally appeared on people.com