The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recommends motorists avoid traveling during winter storms if possible, but motorists who must be on the road are urged to use caution while driving. Speed limit reductions may also be in place on Interstate roads and Interstate look-alikes.
PennDOT offers the following tips for drivers who must travel:
Drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
Turn on your headlights.
Increase your following distance.
Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required. Use defroster and wipers.
Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
Use four-way flashers when traveling slowly.
Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could create a chain-reaction collision.
Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
Always buckle up and never drink and drive.
PennDOT is prepared, with plow trucks and other equipment ready. Salt, anti-skid and other materials are in good supply. Crews will be working around the clock if necessary to keep roads safe and passable.
Motorists are reminded that roadways will not be free of snow while precipitation is falling. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning. Motorists should leave plenty of space –six car lengths ---when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials.
While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com.511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 850 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should consider special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.
PennDOT also reminds citizens that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at www.ReadyPA.orgor by calling 1-888-9-READYPA. Citizens can find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the Web site or the toll-free line.
For more information on winter driving and PennDOT operations, visit www.penndot.gov/winter.