Expect icy roads this weekend, and plan your activity accordingly, weather experts and PennDOT advise.
The National Weather Service is calling for continuing cold temperatures. That, coupled with a chance of freezing rain and sleet Sunday morning, could cause problems for motorists. Rain and snow are likely Sunday night before 1 a.m., then a slight chance of snow between 1-3 a.m.
PennDOT advises motorists to monitor weather forecasts and postpone unnecessary travel during the storm.
“We are prepared and will work before and throughout the storm,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said.
She warned that icing presents a challenge because rain washes away some materials intended to melt ice; and ice is less visible to motorists than snow.
PennDOT often lowers speed limits during and following storms. If conditions warrant such restrictions, PennDIT postsv them on variable message boards; the 511PA traveler information website and smartphone apps. Motorists can also sign up for personalized alerts on the website.
PennDOT urges motorists to avoid travel this weekend if possible. If travel is necessary, use caution, reduce speeds and be aware of changing weather conditions.
PennDOT pre-treated roadways where necessary ahead of this week’s storm. It helped prevent ice from forming a bond with the pavement during the early stages of a storm. However, salt is not a silver bullet, and drivers may encounter icy spots on the roadway.
PennDOT warns roads that look wet may actually be icy. Use extra caution when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning.
Motorists can “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles around the state. Visit www.511PA.com to see color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.
If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions.
Emergency kits are important if motorists must be on the road. The kits should include 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 specific needs such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.
Last winter 301 crashes resulting in four fatalities and 143 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways. Many happened as a result of aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes.
Prepare for power outages
Ice can cause trees to fall on power lines, causing power outages, Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency warns. 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.
Sources 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. They include nausea, headaches, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue. If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure in your home, leave immediately and call 911.
As additional resources, downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at www.Ready.PA.gov.