Motorists Urged to Use Caution with Winter Weather, Heavier Holiday Traffic

Posted on Tuesday November 26, 2013

Harrisburg – With winter weather affecting much of Pennsylvania and the Thanksgiving travel period under way, PennDOT today urged motorists to use caution and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

“The Thanksgiving travel period tends to bring the highest volume of traffic to our roadways and, unfortunately, it has the highest number of crashes compared to other holidays as well,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “Drivers should build extra travel time into their schedules, especially with varying winter weather across the state.”

With weather forecasts ranging from heavy rains to significant snowfalls, motorists will encounter different driving conditions, and PennDOT will handle each precipitation type differently.

Drivers should especially use caution if they must travel in freezing rain, as the department will not be able to pretreat with salt brine since rain will wash the brine away. PennDOT forces will use the air and road temperature sensors in their plow trucks to determine what treatment material is best given the type of precipitation and temperature.

During storms, interstates and expressways are PennDOT’s primary focus and equipment may be redirected to these routes during significant winter events. During heavier storms, motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions.

As weather and road conditions can worsen quickly at this time of year, motorists should always check the forecast for their entire route and make sure their vehicle is equipped with a winter emergency kit and tires with good traction.

A basic emergency kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. However, motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families may have. Consider adding such items as baby supplies, extra medication, pet supplies, or even children’s games.

Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 650 traffic cameras. 511PA also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Access to 511PA is also available by calling 5-1-1.

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