PennDOT urges motorists to be alert for changing road and weather conditions

The snow came earlier than expected but the winter storm warning in our area will remain in effect until 4 p.m. tomorrow.
Accumulation is expected to reach four to six inches by this evening.
Snow may mix with sleet at times late tonight with an additional accumulation of six to 10 inches.
It is expected to taper off tomorrow afternoon with a total snowfall of 12 to 16 inches.
With all that snow, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reminding motorist to be alert to changing road and weather conditions and to adjust driving behavior accordingly.
“Winter driving conditions can change very quickly and present many challenges for drivers,” said District 9 Executive Tom Prestash, P. E. in a recent release, “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. Motorists should make sure to have all the necessary supplies for an emergency situation, including warm clothes, blanket, flashlight, flares, water, non-perishable food and a bag of salt or sand;
• Remove snow and ice from the vehicle. A buildup of snow and ice on a car can impede visibility, and snow blowing from a car’s roof can cause problems for other motorists;
• 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 under the influence;
• Know your vehicle before the storm. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, apply steady brake pressure. If it does not, firmly pump the brakes to avoid sliding;
• Beware of blowing snow that can cause extensive drifting as well as reduce visibility quickly and drastically;
• Use headlights and flashers to make your car more visible to other motorists. Always use flashers when approaching an incident 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 and
• 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 re-freeze.
Also, in blizzard or whiteout conditions, seek a safe shelter if possible, such as a highway rest area, hotel, restaurant or other public building.
If you do become stranded, stay with the vehicle and only run the engine and heater every half hour or so. Make sure tailpipes are clear and keep downwind windows open for fresh air. Also, tie a brightly colored flag onto the highest point of the vehicle to help rescuers.
To report a roadway concern, all PennDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD. To check on road conditions on Pennsylvania Interstates, call 1-888-783-6783.