PennDOT maintenance crews prepared for winter weather this weekend

Western PA News

Winter weather is on the way, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) says they are prepared.

The PennDOT District 1 is reminding residents and visitors that crews in the Northwest Region are ready to maintain the roadways, even during the holidays.

Salt, anti-skid, and other materials are in good supply in the region, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties. Crews will be working around the clock, as needed.

“Thanksgiving is a time when many people choose to spend time with their family and friends, sometimes traveling long distances,” said District 1 Executive Brian McNulty, P.E. “Year after year, our maintenance crews have dedicated themselves to providing safe and passable roads so others can gather for the holidays. With this year’s wintry forecast, they will again be providing that service.”

PennDOT wants motorists to use caution while driving and avoid traveling when the weather becomes severe. Roadways will not be free of snow while precipitation is still falling. Freezing temperatures means roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when driving on bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning.

“Safety is a partnership during winter weather,” McNulty said. “Our plow operators can do their job best when other drivers on the roadway give them ample space – six car lengths – and follow other safe driving guidelines, including allowing for extra time to arrive at the destination.”

For motorists who are traveling during times of snow or sleet, PennDOT says:

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • 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.
  • During whiteouts, 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.
  • 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.
  • Never pass between two trucks operating in a plow line. 
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

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 511PA HERE. 511PA 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.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, click HERE.

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