Harrisburg, PA – The public are advised to prepare for the winter driving season by checking resources, understanding weather terminology and preparing their vehicles. A review from Acting PennDOT Executive Secretary Melissa Batula, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey described Commonwealth plans for services during the upcoming winter season.
“Our number one priority is safety, and this guides our winter preparations and operations,” Batula said. “We are ready for the coming season and motorists are our partners in making this a safe season. “
The public can access travel information on nearly 40,000 state-maintained highway miles year round at www.511PA.com, and during the winter, they can find plow locations and details of the last time state-maintained roads were cleared. The information is made possible by PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which uses units in each of the more than 2,500 snowplow trucks owned and rented by the department to send a cell signal indicating where a truck.
To help the public prepare for the season and share information about winter services, PennDOT offers operational information and resources for travelers to www.penndot.gov/hiver. The site also offers a comprehensive winter guide with detailed information on winter services in each of the PennDOT’s 11 Engineering Districts.
Each year, the CTP prepares for the winter elements by properly preparing its entire fleet of trucks, plows and salt spreaders, and training over 400 licensed equipment operators to be ready. activate staff 24/7 this fall. Toll traffic and weather operations are also ready. The team’s goal is to fully understand the pavement conditions and keep the Turnpike system as free of snow and ice as possible. Motorists should take the time now to make sure their vehicles are winter-ready and learn about their own winter driving skills.
“Our professional crews have worked hard to prepare for the next winter season, and they are ready,” said Shuey. “Winter storms are a reality in our area, so drivers should take the time now to inspect the condition of their own vehicles and make sure the wipers and tires are working properly. Additionally, now is the time to download the 511PA app to access traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts and traffic speed information for all major roads in Pennsylvania. You can be ready for what to expect with a swipe of the screen.
With $ 197.7 million budgeted for this winter’s statewide operations, PennDOT is deploying approximately 4,700 workers on the road, has over 560,000 tonnes of salt statewide, and will provide salt deliveries. throughout the winter.
PennDOT is actively researching more than 600 temporary equipment operators statewide for the winter season to supplement the department’s full-time staff. Details on minimum requirements, such as having a CDL, as well as information on how to apply, can be found at www.employment.pa.gov. On the same website, job seekers can apply for over 100 other non-operator winter positions, such as diesel and construction equipment mechanics, welders, clerks and more.
If motorists encounter snowy or icy roads, they should slow down, increase their tracking distance, and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows there were 301 crashes with four deaths and 143 injuries on snowy, muddy or icy roads where aggressive driving behavior such as speeding or reckless lane changes. were factors.
Motorists should be prepared for potential inclement weather by making sure they have provisions in their car before leaving: food, water, blankets, extra gloves and hats, cell phone charger, hand or foot warmers, brush and scraper for windshields and any specialty items such as medicines or baby and pet supplies.
“If you must travel during periods of inclement winter weather, your planning should include knowing the weather and travel alerts throughout your itinerary,” said Padfield. “Make sure others know your estimated commute time and have basic emergency supplies in your car, including any specialty items needed for young children or pets.”
Padfield said it’s also important to know the difference between a weather watch and a warning:
- A watch means there is an increased risk of a dangerous weather event, but its occurrence, location or timing is still uncertain. Pay attention to the forecast and plan what to do if / when it happens.
- A warning means that the weather event is imminent or is occurring. Take immediate action to protect life and property.
In addition, snow squalls can often produce dangerous and fatal travel hazards on otherwise clear winter days. The National Weather Service now issues “snow squall warnings” that alert drivers to whiteout conditions and slippery pavements, so motorists can avoid driving directly into these dangerous squalls.
For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter driving resources for motorists, visit the department’s winter site.
Motorists can check conditions over 40,000 miles of road, including color-coded winter conditions over 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 over 1,000 speed cameras.
511PA is also available through a free smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.