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Safe driving in the storm

Published October 29. 2012 05:05PM

State department of Transportation spokesman Ron Young said that"PennDOT has made preparations for Hurricane Sandy. On Friday, there was a statewide web-based conference call with PennDOT (and all of its eleven engineering districts), other state agencies, and the state's contracted weather service vendor."

All state resources are available to respond, and all essential employees are 'on call'.

On Thursday and Friday, PennDOT staff checked all power equipment and materials (chainsaws, front end loaders, trucks, and other equipment) to ensure they are in working order. PennDOT staff also fueled up all equipment. PennDOT maintenance staff checked and cleared drainage inlets on state roadways for debris to ensure at the start of the event storm water should be able to drain.

PennDOT is closely monitoring the storm, and depending on what areas of Pennsylvania get hit the hardest, resources may be moved from one engineering district to another.

Incident Command Centers at all elevenPennDOT Engineering Districts are either already activated or will be in the early morning hours tomorrow (Engineering District 5's Center will activate at 6 a.m.).

Hurricane Sandy is expected to have a severe impact on the region. Roadways and bridges are subject to closure at any time. For their own safety, and the safety of emergency responders, motorists are strongly urged to avoid unnecessary travel until the storm passes.

If it is absolutely necessary for someone to travel, PennDOT reminds motorists to log on to or call 511 from any phone before heading out to check traffic conditions.

Drivers should never drive into low-lying areas or over roads and bridges that are already under water. Just a few inches of moving water can sweep away the average car. Remember turn around, don't drown. Also, motorists need to remember if a road is closed, it is closed for the safety of the motoring public, so nobody should travel around any road closed signs or blockades. And heed advice from local authorities.

All motorists should carry an emergency kit in each vehicle. PennDOT recommends a few basic items for all emergency kits, such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket and small snow shovel. Kits should be tailored to each family's specific needs, including such items as baby supplies, pet necessities, medications, a spare cell phone or even children's games. For more information on how to make a disaster supply kit and how to prepare for all kinds of emergencies, visit or call 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).

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