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Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips For Commuters

Highway Safety News, PennDOT News, TMA News | November 18th, 2021

Snow, ice and everything in between. Our Community Traffic Safety Program is reminding commuters that this is the time of year to be ready for winter weather conditions that can impact our drives and that being prepared is the best way to successfully navigate winter roads throughout Bucks County.

Winter weather can quickly bring unexpected poor driving conditions so make sure that both you and your vehicle are ready for ice and snow. Prior to the winter driving season, you should have a mechanic check the brakes, battery, hoses and belts on your vehicles. We also recommend packing some kind of winter emergency kit in your vehicle to help you in your preparations. This kit should include items such as a flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, ice scraper, small shovel, gloves, blanket and anything else you may need to accommodate family traveling with you.

“The first thing to keep in mind is that if winter weather is forecasted, you should aim to eliminate all unnecessary travel if possible,” explains TMA Bucks Community Traffic Safety Program manager Carly Mannon. “Telecommuting is a great tool that allows our businesses to keep functioning while keeping us safe and also allows PennDOT and municipal public works departments to more easily perform their winter duties. However, if you have to travel and be on the road, there are several tips you should know for safe driving during the winter months.”

  • Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors and all vehicle lights before you drive and as often as needed.
  • Remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. State law states that if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes a vehicle or person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.
  • Slow down and increase following distance.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts.
  • Beware of roads that may look wet, but are actually frozen, often referred to as “black ice.”
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow-covered roads.
  • State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your wipers are on.
  • Use your low beams in particularly bad weather, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).

“Please also remember that Bucks County has several rural, two-lane highways, so please be patient and allow PennDOT the necessary time to reach these roads,” added Mannon. “It is also worth noting that not all highways in Bucks County are state highways. Several are municipally-owned and are treated and plowed by the borough or township.”

Also note that several Bucks County municipalities have snow emergency policies. Be aware of your township/borough’s policy and comply to help keep the roads clear and safe.