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Winter Driving

Remember, if winter weather is forecast, eliminate all unnecessary travel. This will keep you and your family safe and allow PennDOT to more easily perform its winter duties. However, if you must travel, PennDOT offers the following tips for safe driving this winter season. You may also download our Winter Driving Guide (PDF).

 
  • Carry a winter emergency travel kit.

  • Listen to weather and travel advisories, but if you don't have to travel in bad weather, don't.

  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.

  • Slow down and increase following distance.

  • Avoid sudden stops and starts.

  • Beware of roads that may look wet, but are actually frozen, often referred to as "black ice."

  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.

  • Carry a cellphone.

  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow-covered roads.

  • State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your wipers are on.

  • Use your low beams in particularly bad weather, 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 states that if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes a vehicle or person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.

  • Do not park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes.

  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).

  • Make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you expect to arrive. In case you run into an emergency and need help, someone will know where to look for you.

  • If you do become stranded, it's better to stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so, but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.

  • Do not drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.

Preparation is also key to successfully navigating winter roads. Winter weather can bring unexpected conditions, so make sure that both you and your vehicle are ready for ice and snow.

Learn about what to expect from PennDOT during the winter on our Winter Operations page.