EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — With winter weather in the forecast, PennDOT is giving drivers some advice for navigating through the snow.

PennDOT says they do not recommend traveling during winter storms. However, for those who need to drive in winter during such conditions they offer this advice for safe travel:

  • Always carry a winter emergency travel kit. A basic kit should include layers of warm clothing, blankets, phone chargers, non-perishable food, water, and a small shovel.
  • When preparing an emergency kit, drivers should take into account the special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies, or medications, and pack accordingly.
  • Listen to travel and weather advisories, and don’t travel in bad weather if it’s not necessary.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Slow down and increase the distance between the vehicle you’re following.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts.  
  • Beware of ‘black ice,’ when roads look wet but are actually frozen.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.
  • Always carry a cell phone with you while traveling.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow-covered roads.
  • Always have your headlights and wipers on, as state law requires.
  • Use your low beams in a bad storm, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.
  • Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors, and all vehicle lights before you drive and as often as needed. Remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. State law says if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes a vehicle or a person and causes death or injury, you can be cited.
  • Do not park or leave your vehicle on emergency routes.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).
  • Make sure you tell someone where you’re going and what time you expect to get there, in case you run into an emergency and need help, someone will know where to look for you.
  • If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so, make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.
  • Never drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.

PennDOT says to also watch for snow squalls as they’re very common and can create whiteout conditions, virtually eliminating a driver’s visibility.

While snow is coming down, PennDOT says they will have crews treating the roads around the clock, and they will continue to treat the roads through the storm until it stops and the roads are clear.

Drivers can check up-to-date road conditions by calling 5-1-1 or visiting 511PA online.

For more winter weather driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms visit them online.