What to Know
- A First Alert is in effect through Monday, which is also the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
- Gov. Tom Wolf to declare a statewide emergency and issue speed restrictions, as well as a ban on commercial traffic.
- Last winter in Pennsylvania, 440 crashes resulted in 221 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways, according to PennDOT.
A winter storm wallop is expected to make driving very difficult in the coming days. The mixture of snow, rain and ice could make roadways especially treacherous, state officials have warned.
A First Alert is in effect through Monday, which is also the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
These dangerous conditions prompted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to declare a statewide emergency and issue speed restrictions, as well as an initial ban on "all commercial traffic ... including buses on most interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike."
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
The turnpike restrictions were somewhat eased Saturday, when transportation officials announced through Twitter that all commercial vehicles would be allowed on the roadway between Interstate 276, east of Valley Forge.
The ban is in place until noon Sunday. Click here for a map of restricted roadways.
During the ba, travel on interstates and expressways will be restricted to 45 MPH during this time.
Last winter in Pennsylvania, 440 crashes resulted in 221 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways, according to PennDOT.
This year, state officials urge drivers to use extreme caution during the storm, postpone travel if possible, reduce speeds and be aware of the potential for rapidly changing weather and roadway conditions.
“Travel will be very challenging this weekend with the combination of heavy snow, high winds, sleet, freezing and plain rain and then a rapid drop in temperatures on Sunday,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “If you must travel, please check 511PA for the latest conditions and be prepared in case extreme conditions trigger long delays on your route.”
In Delaware, the arctic air that will follow the storm on Sunday will create icy driving conditions. DelDOT crews will be salting and plowing roads across the state as conditions change.
In New Jersey, more than 800 department of transportation and contractor trucks worked through the night to keep State Highways clear and safe. A winter weather advisory was lifted Friday, but driver should monitor NJDOT for updates.
Amtrak has already cancelled the Sunday cross-state Pennsylvanian passenger train and six trains additional trains Line between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
Officials also recommend drivers include a car emergency kit when traveling filled non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel.
Cars should be clear of ice and snow before driving. Remember, if snow or ice falls from a moving car and strikes another car or pedestrian, causing death or serious bodily injury, the driver of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine, according to PennDOT.
Also, drivers should be cautious around 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 heavy snowpack.
- 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, drivers should change their behavior behind the wheel when bad weather hits, PennDOT said. If drivers encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions.