As you may know, the next few days are going to be extremely hot. But before you decide that it's hopeless to combat it, think again. There really are some strategies you can employ that really can take the heat off and can make a big difference in how comfortable you are as you wait on the platform or find yourself in a crowded train.
1) Cool and plentiful water really is your best friend during the dog days of summer. Be sure to bring along a water bottle, and consider toting it in a small, insulated bag to keep it cool. And remember, drink the water even if you don't feel thirsty, because thirst kicks in only when one percent to two percent of body weight is already lost. (Remember too that caffeine and alcoholic beverages will dehydrate you rather than hydrate you!)
2) Look into small, battery operated hand-held fans and misters sold in many drugstores and online to give yourself a cooling break. Or, carry along a washcloth so that you can wet it with your water bottle and pat your wrists, face and the back of your neck for a quick cool down.
3) Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting clothing.
4) Ditch jackets and pants with linings for the summer, as the lining can trap heat in hot weather.
5) Seek shade, even if it means carrying a light umbrella or parasol to help ward off the worst of the sun's rays. Wear a hat with a wide brim.
6) Don't avoid the outdoors completely: going outdoors regularly can help build up your heat tolerance. Did you know that to prepare for summer athletics, it takes 10 to 14 days of regular exercise in the heat, slowly building up to intense workouts at the hottest times of the day, before an athlete can safely (and comfortably) work out in the heat? The same basic notion applies to just being out in the heat ... if you're not used to it, you're more at risk for heat-related illness. If you still get overheated, pay attention to what your body is telling you. The warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but they're often hard to ignore as they may include:
Heat stroke is more serious, with warning signs including:
The summer heat is not something to ignore, so please take precautions and don't overdo it. Our trains are air conditioned, most platforms are shaded, and the walks from train to car are not long. Please, take it easy when the mercury climbs to dangerous levels!
As you prepare for the heat, VRE as well as our partners are preparing for it as well. Please note that heat-related speed restrictions are likely to be in effect for the Fredericksburg Line in the afternoon, which means the southbound trains will be delayed. How long the delay depends on which station you are going to; if you are going to Franconia/Springfield or Lorton, you'll probably not notice the two minute delay. However, if you are going all the way to Fredericksburg, it is about an eleven minute delay when it is all said and done.
These speed restrictions are for your safety and also for your safety, we hope that you take our advice to carry a bottle of water and stay hydrated.
Thank you for riding VRE.