Truck driver believes lack of preparation led to chaos on Virginia interstate

Drivers have been stranded on I-95 in Virginia since Monday

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. A truck driver stranded on Interstate 95 in Virginia since Monday says he can't fathom how people would be stuck on a highway for more than 12 hours because of snow.

Canadian long-haul truck driver Matthew Marchand spoke with FOX Weather on Tuesday morning and said conditions on the roads began to go downhill around 9 a.m. Monday.

Drivers stranded for 12+ hours on I-95 in Virginia as temperatures drop overnight

The mid-Atlantic experienced its first big winter storm of 2022, and more than a foot of snow fell from New Jersey to Virginia.

"By about 9 a.m., 10 a.m., conditions were deteriorating," he said. "I'd say in the span of about 15 hours, I may have accomplished about 20 miles."

Hundreds of crashes were reported on roads and highways across Virginia by the afternoon, leading to miles of backups on I-95 in the Fredericksburg area. 

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"The weather itself wasn't the biggest problem. It was the lack of preparation I found on the roads themselves," Marchand said. "Perhaps people aren't used to driving in that type of weather here as well. I'm from Canada. This isn't a big deal in terms of the weather itself. We would have had that highway cleared rather quickly. I can't fathom that one would be stuck on an interstate for 12 hours or more at a time."

Luckily, Marchand said he was prepared for winter weather and had plenty of supplies.

"I probably have somewhere between 72 hours and 96 hours of fuel onboard, so I'm not worried about that," he said. "I've got reasonable amounts of food and enough water for a couple of days."

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Many other drivers weren't as prepared as he was, though. Marchand said he got out of his truck to check on others who were stranded.

"A little bit later in the night, I had someone knocking on my door. He was driving a Tesla. He had his children in the car plus his wife, and they were running low on battery power and had virtually no supplies," he said.

Marchand said he was able to give them water and spare blankets to help keep them warm.

"The average traveler isn't prepared for this. That's part of the problem," he said. "I carry a shovel in the truck. A good snow brush. Salt, so if I get stuck, I can free myself. But that's just kind of lost on the average traveler, unfortunately."