2010-12-09 / Local & State

PennDOT Urges Motorists To Be Alert For Weather Conditions

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Monday reminded motorists to be alert to changing road and weather conditions and to adjust their driving behavior accordingly.

“Winter driving conditions can change very quickly and present many challenges for drivers,” said District 9 Executive Tom Prestash, P.E. “Winter weather can produce icy roads as well as reduced visibility, often with little or no warning. That’s why it’s so crucial for drivers to use extra caution and slow down when driving.”

Prestash added that winter driving challenges do not necessarily end when the snow stops falling.

“Wind-blown snow can cover a roadway even after the storm is over, so drivers must be vigilant all winter long for changing conditions,” Prestash said.

PennDOT offers the following tips for safe winter driving:

Be prepared, pack an emergency kit. Motorists should make sure to have all the necessary supplies for an emergency situation. A basic kit should include nonperishable 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.

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 person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.

Keep a full tank of gas. Plenty of gas may allow a driver to run the car periodically to have heat if stranded.

Slow down, buckle up and never drive impaired.

Beware of blowing snow that can cause extensive drifting as well as reduce visibility quickly and drastically.

If snow squalls or whiteout conditions exist, slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions, turn on your headlights, stay in your lane and during a whiteout come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so.

Use headlights and flashers to make your car more visible to other motorists. Always use flashers when approaching an incident or during low travel speeds.

Maintain a cushion of safety by increasing your following distance to help allow for more time to react in an emergency.

Allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter materials.

Watch for re-freeze. Sunlight during the day may begin to melt snow on the roadway and shoulders, but at night colder temperatures may cause areas to refreeze.

Motorists can log on to 511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions before heading out. You can also follow local PennDOT info on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAAltoona

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