PennDOT provides winter driving advice, motorists urged to avoid unnecessary travel

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MONTOURSVILLE — With the winter weather forecasted for north central Pennsylvania tomorrow, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel.

For those who need to travel during winter storms, the department reminds motorists to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com.

PennDOT maintains nearly 40,000 miles of state-administered roadway and 25,400 bridges, which translates to approximately 95,000 snow lane miles. During the winter months, the public can find plow-truck locations and details of when the state-maintained roadways were last treated by selecting the “PennDOT Plow Trucks” in 511PA legend.

Winter Driving Advice

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, we provide the following advice to those who need to drive in winter weather.

  • Carry a winter emergency travel kit. (including layers of clothing and blankets)
  • Listen to weather and travel advisories, but if you do not have to travel in bad weather don’t.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Slow down and increase following distance.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts.
  • Beware of roads that may look wet, but are actually frozen, often referred to as ‘black ice.’
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.
  • Carry a cellphone.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow-covered roads.
  • State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your wipers are on.
  • Use your low beams in particularly bad weather, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.
  • Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors, and all vehicle lights before you drive and as often as needed.
  • Remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. State law states that if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes a vehicle or a person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.
  • Do not park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).
  • Make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you expect to arrive in case you run into an emergency and need help, someone will know where to look for you.
  • If you do become stranded, it’s better to stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so, but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.
  • Do not drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check 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 1,000 traffic cameras.  

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts

PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include phone chargers, non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account 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 http://www.Ready.PA.gov. Citizens can also find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the ReadyPA website. 

For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit http://www.penndot.gov/winter

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways 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 1,000 traffic cameras. 

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts

Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Montour and Columbia counties at www.penndot.pa.gov/District3.

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