With snow and ice forecast for much of Pennsylvania today, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is imposing restrictions on certain trucks and other vehicles on Interstate 80 in Mercer and Venango counties.
The restrictions were put in place starting 6 AM Wednesday, February 20, and will remain in place until the storm has moved out the state.
During this time a traveling ban is in place on Interstate 80 from Exit 19 (Interstate 79 interchange) to Exit 161 (Route 220, Bellefonte) for the following vehicles:
• empty, straight CDL-weighted trucks;
• all Large Combination Vehicles (double trailers);
• tractors hauling empty trailers;
• any trailers pulled by motorcycles, passenger vehicles, pickup trucks or SUVs;
• all motorcycles; and
• all recreational vehicles and RVs.
Additional restrictions are in place along other interstates throughout Pennsylvania.
To help make decisions regarding winter travel, 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 860 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.
When winter weather occurs, PennDOT urges drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should:
• Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck.
• Be alert since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
• When a plow truck is traveling toward you, move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible, and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width.
• Never try to pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a “plow train.” The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for nearby vehicles.
• Never travel next to a plow truck since there are blind spots where the operator can’t see, and they can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or heavy snowpack.
• Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Also remember that under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a vehicle’s wipers are on due to inclement weather.