Winter Driving

Preparation is one key to successfully navigating winter roads. Winter weather can bring unexpected conditions, so make sure that both you and your vehicle are ready for ice and snow.

Traffic in snow Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Preparation is one key to successfully navigating winter roads. Winter weather can bring unexpected conditions, so make sure that your vehicle is ready for ice and snow. Prior to the winter driving season, you should have a mechanic check the brakes, battery, hoses and belts. Below are some additional tips for getting your vehicle ready for winter.

  • Check that your fluid levels are full.
  • Make sure your wipers don't streak. You may want to consider installing winter wiper blades.
  • Ensure that your heater and defroster are working properly.
  • Check that your vehicle's radio is working properly so you can receive weather and traffic reports.
  • Make sure all lights are working.
  • Check to be sure that tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth.
  • If you live in an area prone to heavy snow, you may want to use dedicated snow tires on your vehicle or carry a set of tire chains. At a minimum, your all-weather tires should be mud and snow rated.
  • In the case of a problem, contact a mechanic immediately.
Row of Snowplows With Cruiser Winter Emergency Kit

Winter Emergency Kit

PennDOT recommends packing a winter emergency kit in your vehicle anytime you travel. The following items should be considered for your kit:

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Snow shovel
  • Matches and candles
  • First aid supplies
  • Extra warm clothing and gloves
  • Blanket
  • Ice scraper
  • Sand
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Anything else you may need to accommodate family traveling with you (special medication, baby supplies, pet food, etc.)
Winter Driving Tips2 Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips

Remember, if winter weather is forecast, eliminate all unnecessary travel. This will keep you and your family safe and allow PennDOT to more easily perform our winter duties. However, if you must travel, PennDOT offers the following tips for safe driving this winter season.

  • Carry a winter emergency travel kit.
  • Listen to weather and travel advisories, and if you don't have to travel in bad weather, don't.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • 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.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • 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 bad weather, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.
  • Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors and all vehicle lights 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.
  • Do not park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).
  • Make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you expect to arrive. In case you run into an emergency and need help, someone will know where to look for you.
  • If you do become stranded, it's better to stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so, but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.
  • Do not drink and drive and always wear your seat belt.