PennDOT urges drivers to use caution, even though Thursday’s storm might not bring much snow

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is advising drivers to use caution when they hit the road Thursday during the coming storm.

While significant snow amounts aren’t expected across the whole state, low temperatures, high winds and the timing of the storm’s arrival could cause problems for drivers, PennDOT says. Commuters are advised to use caution and adjust their travel times, if necessary.

Drivers in the northwest region — who could see up to 18 inches of snow into the weekend — should also consider postponing unnecessary travel if conditions warrant, according to PennDOT.

“PennDOT is fully prepared with staff, materials and equipment for this storm,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a press release. “However, salt is less effective at colder temperatures and gusting winds will impact visibility and driving conditions.

“We urge drivers to not be complacent even if their area isn’t expected to see several inches of snow – they must slow down, allow extra time in their commutes, and leave plenty of room around our plows and other vehicles.”

If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions, PennDOT says. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 252 crashes resulting in 129 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

To help make decisions as to whether to travel during winter weather, 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 www.511PA.com.

511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 850 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.