OIL CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – Heavy snow squalls and gusty winds are prompting state officials in Pennsylvania to issue a travel advisory.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recommends motorists avoid traveling during winter storms if possible, but motorists who must be on the road are urged to use caution while driving.
Sudden and heavy snow squalls are one of the biggest challenges that motorists, including PennDOT plow truck drivers, face during the winter; and motorists need to be alert for sudden squalls that can quickly cause roads to become snow covered.
Heavy squalls can also cause whiteout conditions that can greatly restrict or virtually eliminate a driver’s visibility.
If motorists do encounter snow squalls while traveling, PennDOT offers this advice:
- 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.
- Always buckle up and never drink and drive.
Roads will not be free of snow while precipitation is falling. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning.
Motorists should leave plenty of space – six car lengths — when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials.
While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check conditions by visiting www.511PA.com.
If you do plan to travel, make sure to pack an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes.