PennDOT Encourages Safe Winter Driving Practices Ahead of Upcoming Winter Weather

| January 24, 2023

VENANGO COUNTY, Pa.– The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 1 is encouraging motorists to use safe winter driving practices during any necessary travels on Wednesday, as a winter storm brings snow and ice to the region.

District 1 is preparing for the upcoming storm and are actively monitoring precipitation types and rates to determine the best treatments for roadways. During any winter event, salt is not a silver bullet, and drivers may encounter icy spots on the roadway. 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 watch for “black ice,” a condition occurring on clear roadways when a thin layer of ice forms due to dropping temperatures. When the road looks wet, but no spray is coming from the tires of other vehicles, “black ice” may be present.

In addition to storm preparation, how winter materials are used during storms varies by roadway and precipitation type. On higher-volume roadways, salt is the primary winter material used through a storm, especially during rush hours and on bridges, hills, curves and intersections.

On lower-volume roadways the amount of salt will be reduced, and anti-skid will be used more as salt is most effective with higher traffic volumes. Crews closely monitor road and air temperatures to determine the most effective treatment.

When roads get slick, you should:

  • On packed snow, decrease your speed by half. On ice, slow to a crawl. Leave more space than normal between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Apply brakes gently, ease off if you start to skid and reapply when you regain control.
  • Do not use your cruise control when driving on slippery roads. Snow, ice, slush, and rain can cause wheel-spin and loss of control. The only way to stop wheel spin and regain control is to reduce power. But an activated cruise control system will continue to apply power, keeping your wheels spinning.

To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on Pennsylvania roadways by visiting 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.

Users can also see plow truck routes/locations along a specific route in 511PA using the “Check My Route” tool. Plow truck locations will be indicated by dots along a roadway. The time it takes for a plow truck to pass by the same point on the route depends on how heavy precipitation is and how much traffic is on the roadway. During a heavy and/or steady snowstorm, if snow is falling at one inch per hour and a truck route takes three hours to complete, three new inches of snow has fallen at the start of its route before the route is finished. Crews continue to complete routes throughout the storm, but roadways will not be free of snow or ice during the storm.

Drivers should prepare or restock their emergency kits with items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication, and pet supplies.

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Category: Local News, News, Weather