First Posted: 11/11/2014
As the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) shifts its operations from construction to winter maintenance, the department is urging motorists to join in preparing for the season with a new video, released to educate the public on PennDOT operations and safe winter driving.
The “Winter Operations” video at left highlights the department’s 5,400 operators and 2,250 trucks prepared 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 means a one-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles.
To prepare for winter driving, according to the department, 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.
When winter weather hits, PennDOT’s primary focus is on interstates and expressways, and equipment may be redirected to these routes during significant winter events. The more traffic a roadway has, the more attention it will receive from plows, so 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.
During last winter, PennDOT used more than 1.2 million tons of salt on state-owned roads. Currently, the department has approximately 639,000 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.