PennDOT Ready for Winter Travel, Motorists Urged to Prepare for Season

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch today called on motorists to join the department in its efforts to keep roadways safe through the upcoming season.

PennDOT has 5,400 operators and more than 2,250 trucks ready to maintain more than 40,000 miles of state-maintained roadway or 96,000 snow lane miles – enough miles to circle the globe nearly four times. A snow-lane is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes; which mean a one-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles.

“With our roadways and roughly 25,000 bridges combined, PennDOT is responsible for 96,000 snow-lane miles. That is an enormous undertaking to keep the public safe regardless of what winter throws our way,” Schoch said. “Drivers too play a key role in making sure that we all get home safely, so preparing for winter driving is essential.”

During storms, interstates and expressways are PennDOT’s primary focus and equipment may be redirected to these routes during significant winter events. During heavier storms, motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions.

If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter, there were 427 crashes resulting in two fatalities and 130 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors in the crash.

Motorists should carry an emergency kit including items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. However, motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families may have. Consider adding such items as baby supplies, extra medication, pet supplies, or even children’s games.

Last winter, PennDOT used more than 901,574 tons of salt on state-owned roads. Currently, PennDOT has approximately 550,000 tons of salt stockpiled and will continue to take salt deliveries throughout the winter.

PennDOT has agreements with more than 680 municipalities for them to clear state roads within their borders. The department also rents approximately 271 trucks and operators to assist with snow removal, as needed.

Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 650 traffic cameras. 511PA also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Access to 511PA is also available by calling 5-1-1.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department’s “Ready for Winter” website at www.dot.state.pa.us/winter.

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