PennDOT warns drivers of anticipated icy roadways

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Due to anticipated icy roadway conditions this weekend, PennDOT is advising motorists to monitor weather forecasts and postpone unnecessary travel during the storm.

Conditions may warrant temporary speed-limit reductions or vehicle restrictions. If so, you can check the 511PA traveler information website and mobile app to see the latest travel updates and winter road conditions. The website also allows users to sign up for personalized alerts.

PennDOT has pre-treated roadways where necessary ahead of this week’s storm to help prevent ice from forming a bond with the pavement during the early stages of the storm. However, they said salt is not a silver bullet, and drivers may still encounter icy spots.

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.

If you encounter snow or ice-covered roads, PennDOT advises you should slow down, increase your following distance and avoid distractions.

Drivers should have emergency kits with items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. It’s suggested motorists also tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.

Last winter, PennDOT’s preliminary data shows that there were 301 crashes resulting in four fatalities and 143 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive driving behaviors like speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency also advised residents that ice can cause trees to fall on power lines, causing power outages that can last for an extended period of time.

If you lose power, never use a gas-fired appliance to heat your home, such as a stove or gas grill. They can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home, a potentially fatal situation.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer because it is an odorless, tasteless gas that can leave victims incapacitated before ever being aware of the exposure. Sources of carbon monoxide can include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas fireplaces, appliances, grills, generators and motor vehicles.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for the flu, including nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue. If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure in your home, leave immediately and call 911.

For more information on things such as emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, visit Ready.PA.gov.

For more information on winter travel and PennDOT’s winter operations, visit their website under “winter.” Additionally, you can head to their website on winter and highway safety driving under “safety.”

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