Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf reminded
Pennsylvanians and those traveling in the state to be vigilant as a winter
storm continues throughout the day and overnight into Wednesday, changing over
to a wintry mix moving north and east. As the storm winds down, more snow,
followed by gusty wind conditions, could make driving treacherous.
“Stay safe out there,
everyone,” Gov. Wolf said. “It’s a wintry mess and we want everyone to use
extreme caution when driving, shoveling, and while enjoying the snow. PEMA
continues to monitor the storm and remains in contract with state agencies and
local emergency management personnel to ensure all needs are met. PennDOT is
treating roads and plowing to help travelers who must be on the road. Heed
local emergency personnel and look out for your neighbors, especially the
elderly, as we get through this winter storm.”
PennDOT and the PA Turnpike
have implemented travel restrictions through the storm, which are being
evaluated hourly. Depending on conditions, restrictions may be expanded or
reduced. See a map of restrictions in effect, www.511PA.com.
Governor Wolf signed an emergency declaration in January that authorizes state
agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope
with the magnitude and severity of the storm’s impacts. The time-consuming bid
and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by
law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation.
It is important to note that
the declaration does not restrict citizens from travel on commonwealth
roadways, but motorists should be aware of restrictions that are in place and
heed the guidance of local authorities.
To help make decisions
regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by
checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded
winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24
hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed
information and access to more than 860 traffic cameras. Users can also see
plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.
511PA is also available through
a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or
by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
A vehicle emergency kit should
be prepared or restocked with items such as non-perishable food, water,
first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small
snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they
or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet
PEMA works with county
emergency management personnel to monitor unmet local needs during inclement weather
affecting travel, utilities, and shelter. You are encouraged to monitor state
agency social media accounts for the most up-to-date
information on any emergency or weather-related situation affecting the state,
in addition to any social media accounts for your local emergency management
Motorists should be aware that
all vehicles should be fully clear of ice and snow before winter travel. If
snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another
vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of
that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.
When winter weather occurs,
PennDOT urges drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal
equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should:
- Stay at
least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the
main plow is wider than the truck.
- Be alert
since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
- When a plow
truck is traveling toward you, move as far away from the center of the
road as is safely possible, and remember that snow can obscure the actual
snow plow width.
- Never try to
pass or get between several 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 nearby vehicles.
- Never travel
next to a plow truck since there are blind spots where the operator can't
see, and they can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or
- Keep your
lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Also remember that
under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a
vehicle's wipers are on due to inclement weather.
In addition to driving safely
around plows, motorists are urged to drive according to conditions. If
motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase
their following distance and avoid distractions.
Last winter in Pennsylvania,
preliminary data shows that there were 440 crashes resulting in 221 injuries on
snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such
as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.
To report an accident or other
emergencies on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone. If there is an
accident, move the car out of travel lane and onto shoulder, if possible, and
stay in the vehicle. For more information about PA Turnpike conditions, follow
the conversation by using www.paturnpike.com/travel/twitter. You may also see advisories by
clicking on the travel ticker on www.PATurnpike.com.
The Public Utility Commission
reminds residents to always consider safety when dealing with any storm-related
power outages, including:
- Call your
utility hotline about all outages – don’t assume that someone else has
reported the problem.
- Stay clear
of any downed power lines, along with trees or other objects that may be
in contact with those lines.
- If you use a
generator, do NOT run it inside your home or garage, and do NOT connect it
to your home’s electrical system.
- Do not call
9-1-1 to report power outages unless it involves a dangerous situation,
such as live wires on a road or a fire.
- Check on
elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional
commission continues to monitor utility issues across the state and
coordinate closely with the governor’s office and the other state agencies
involved in storm response.
PennDOT has created a Winter
Safety media center, including social-media-sized graphics highlighting winter
driving preparations and operations at www.penndot.gov in the “Media Center” under the “About
For more information on safe
winter travel, an emergency kit checklist and information on PennDOT’s winter
operations including a video, visit PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other
highway safety information is available at PennDOT.gov/safety.
Follow the conversation by
using #PAWinter on Twitter and visit the department on Facebook to view a winter emergency kit video.
MEDIA CONTACT: J.J. Abbott, 717-783-1116
# # #