PennDOT is stressing the importance of preparing cars for winter weather and driving with caution as part of the Winter Driving Awareness Week, which runs through January 12.
“The safest choice during a winter weather event is to postpone any unnecessary travel and stay off the roads,” said Dave Matheson, Assistant District Executive for Maintenance. “If you must travel, please slow down and be sure your vehicle is ready to perform in winter conditions.”
Drivers are reminded to have a trusted mechanic check their car’s breaks, hoses, belts, battery, defroster, and heater. Regular checks of fluid levels, headlights and taillights, windshield wipers, tread depth and tire inflation are also recommended.
It is suggested that drivers refill or pack an emergency travel kit in case they get stranded. PennDOT suggests including a flashlight and batteries, first aid supplies, jumper cables, non-perishable food and bottled water.
PennDOT wants to remind drivers to be careful when driving around plows and urged the following:
• Remain at least six car lengths behind an operating plow and be aware the plow is wider than the truck.
• Stay alert since plow trucks typically travel slower than regular traffic.
• Move as far away from the center line as safely possible when a plow truck is traveling toward you. Remember that snow can obscure the width of the plow.
• Never attempt to pass or get between trucks plowing side by side in a “plow train.” The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for you, the equipment operators and nearby cars.
• Never travel next to a plow truck because there are blind spots where the operator can’t see. Plow trucks can also occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or packed snow.
• Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Under Pennsylvania law, car lights must be on when a vehicle’s wipers are on due to inclement weather.