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PennDOT Promotes Safe Driving During Winter Driving Awareness Week


​Uniontown, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is highlighting safe driving tips in conjunction with Winter Driving Awareness Week, which runs through January 15.

PennDOT prepares in advance of winter while maintaining readiness throughout the season. PennDOT urges motorists to also be prepared and stay prepared through the winter season. The following tips can help keep you safe when you are traveling this winter:

  • Check that your vehicle is winter ready: Fluid levels are full, wiper blades don’t streak, heater and defroster are properly working, radio is working to receive weather and traffic reports, all lights are working, tires are inflated properly and sufficient tread depth, consider snow tires or a set or tire chains. If you are unsure of your vehicle’s maintenance contact a mechanic.
  • Winter Emergency Kit: Flashlight and batteries, battery operated radio, jumper cables, cellphone and charger, snow shovel, matches and candles, first aid supplies, extra warm clothing and gloves, blanket, ice scraper, sand, bottled water, non-perishable food, special medication you/your passengers need, baby supplies, pet supplies. Make sure your kit is replenished after each use.

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 tips:

  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow covered roads.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you expect to arrive.
  • If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
  • Slow down and increase following distance.

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. If snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.

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 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 Additional winter driving and other highway safety information is available at www.PennDOT.Safety.

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Westmoreland counties at

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MEDIA CONTACT: Melissa Maczko, 724-439-7340 or

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