Sharing less than 5 minutes of your time can change the whole world for a little turtle trying to cross the road. It may seem as tho they are suicidal or just plain stupid but this is not the case. All too often whats occurred is a road has been built between where they normally live and where they like to hibernate OR lay eggs each year.
Helping them is easy. If it’s possible to pull over and stop in a safe place do. Make note of what direction the turtle is facing BEFORE you get close to it as they tend to move in random directions as you get close. For most species of turtles found in Virginia, you can gently pick it up by the sides of its shell and move it to the side of the road the turtle was heading to. If you move it back, it will simply try again after you leave. NEVER relocate them to what you see as a “safer” place down the road. This takes them away from known nesting & feeding areas and will likely result in turtle death. 🙁
If the turtle in question is a crazy psycho looking thing with a large tail and a really rough shell it may be a snapping turtle. These are the wasp of the turtle world and they are assholes. HOWEVER, just like lawyers and politicians snapping turtles are needed too so there is a special way you can help these if you so choose to. Find a nice long stick. gently tease the turtle with the stick and it will bite the crap out of it and not let go. You can then GENTLY drag the turtle across the road and leave them there with the stick. Taadaa! you just saved a turtle.
Be sure to only do this if you can stop SAFELY and pay attention to traffic the entire time! Turtle death sucks but human death holds up traffic way longer.