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PennDOT warns motorists to remain alert for blowing and drifting snow today

Published January 12. 2011 05:00PM

With wintry winds in the forecast, PennDOT is reminding drivers to slow down, pay attention and use caution on area roadways, especially during snow squalls that may occur today.

Motorists should always be alert for sudden snow squalls which can strike with little or no warning and quickly cause roads to become snow covered. Heavy squalls can also cause whiteout conditions, virtually eliminating 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.

PennDOT also reminds citizens that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA. Citizens can find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the Web site or the toll-free line.

Although PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 511 or visiting, 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 500 traffic cameras. The 511 site also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Regional Twitter alerts are also available on the 511PA website.

The Department also asks motorists to allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter materials.

PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include nonperishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.-

For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit

Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at

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