Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation (PennDOT) is highlighting safe driving tips in conjunction with
Winter Driving Awareness Week, which runs through January 15.
As the region recently
experienced its first snowfall, drivers should prepare their vehicles for the
winter by checking fluid levels, lights, defrosters and windshield wiper
blades, in addition to ensuring proper tire air pressure and adequate tread
depth. If maintaining the vehicle is a challenge for the owner, these minor
checks can be conducted by an auto care professional.
Emergency kits should be
replenished each season to keep motorists and their passengers safe in the
event they are stuck in the vehicle. Supplies may include non-perishable food,
water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a
small snow shovel. Kits can be tailored to the specific needs of the
individuals in the vehicle, with items such as baby supplies, extra medication,
pet supplies or even children's games.
PennDOT advises drivers to stay
in during inclement weather unless it’s necessary to be out. However, if
traveling is necessary, they are urged to practice the following winter driving
low beams in snowy weather;
the gas tank at least half full;
the following distance from the vehicle in front of you; and
extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can form without warning.
To maintain visibility, Pennsylvania law
states motorists must properly clear their vehicles from snow and ice before
getting on the road, especially from the mirrors, roof, trunk and hood. Drivers
can be cited $200 to $1,000 for not clearing their vehicle if snow and ice are dislodged and strike
another, causing a crash.
Additionally, when encountering a plow truck on the
road, give it plenty of space; stay at least six car lengths behind. Drivers
should avoid traveling closely to a plow truck, as there may be blind spots
where it is difficult for the operator to see the smaller vehicle. Never try to
pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a "plow train,”
and keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle.
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 1,000 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.
For more information on safe winter
travel, an emergency kit checklist and information on PennDOT’s winter
operations including a video, visit PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other highway safety
information is available at PennDOT.gov/safety.
more PennDOT information, visit www.PennDot.gov/winter.
regional twitter updates, visit www.511PAPittsburgh.
MEDIA CONTACT: Yasmeen Manyisha, 412-429-5044