Warning: whiteout conditions and blowing snow early Saturday – Connect FM | Local news radio
Clearfield, Pennsylvania – With an exceptionally high likelihood of wintry winds and snow in the morning forecast for Saturday, Feb. 19, PennDOT is urging motorists in north-central Pennsylvania to slow down, be careful and exercise caution on the roads of the area, especially considering the likelihood of white snow or low visibility conditions occurring. The North Central region includes Cameron, Center, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties, but PennDOT stressed the need for drivers to exercise caution on Interstate 99 in the county. from Center and on Interstate 80 to Clearfield, Center, and Clinton counties.
Motorists should always be alert to sudden whiteouts which can occur with little or no warning and quickly sweep snow onto the roads. Severe whiteouts can also cause whiteout conditions, virtually eliminating driver visibility. Additionally, falling temperatures and blowing snow can create icy patches on roads, including overpasses and bridges.
While avoiding or delaying unnecessary travel during winter storms is the safest choice, PennDOT offers this advice if motorists must travel and encounter white snow or blowing snow:
- Slow down gradually and drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions.
- Turn on your headlights. If you get stuck in white snow, turn on your hazard lights.
- Stay in your lane and increase your following distance.
- Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible, and be patient.
- Don’t drive distracted; your full attention is required.
- Use your defroster and windshield wipers.
- Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
- During whiteouts, only come to a complete stop when it is safe to leave the roadway.
- Do not stop in the flow of traffic as this could cause a chain collision.
- Do not pass a slow moving vehicle or accelerate away from a vehicle that is following you too closely.
- Always buckle up and never drive impaired.
Motorists are reminded that the roads will not be free of snow while the precipitation falls. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and freeway ramps where ice can form without warning.
The ministry also asks motorists to provide enough space when driving near snowplow trucks. Also, for their own safety and that of snowplow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing snow or spreading winter materials.
Although PennDOT recommends against travel during winter storms, motorists can check conditions for more than 40,000 miles of road, including color-coded winter conditions for 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. The 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 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1 or following regional Twitter alerts.
PennDOT reminds motorists to carry an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include phone chargers, non-perishable food, water, a blanket, a small shovel, and warm clothing. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should consider any special passenger needs such as baby food, pet supplies or medication and pack accordingly.
PennDOT also reminds citizens that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at www.Ready.PA.gov. Citizens can also find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the ReadyPA website.
For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT handles winter storms, visit www.PennDOT.gov/winter.
Follow PennDOT local news at Twitter and as the department on Facebook and instagram.
PennDOT’s Media Center offers resources for organizations, community groups and others who share safety information with their stakeholders. Social media-sized graphics showcasing winter safety are among the options available.