Winter Driving in Pennsylvania

January 9, 2017

If you have been injured by someone’s reckless driving, an Allentown car accident attorney can be your guide throughout the legal process.  We can manage your claim so you can manage your recovery.  Call Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC at 888-777-7098 for help.

How Do Winter Conditions Impact Driving?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) there are “nearly 40,000 miles of roads and 25,000 bridges statewide — which translates into nearly 96,000 snow-lane miles, or enough to circle the globe nearly four times” – PennDOT Winter Driving.  Operating your vehicle safely on these roadways in ideal conditions can be challenging, but even experienced drivers will want to exercise extra caution when confronted by snow, sleet and other dangerous Pennsylvania weather conditions.

During the 2014-2015 winter, PennDOT recorded 552 crashes, 279 injuries, and 4 deaths resulting from winter driving conditions where aggressive driving behaviors were crash factors.  Winter weather conditions negatively impact the operation of vehicles and you should never drive aggressively during the winter months.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports that winter weather conditions such as snow or sleet, icy pavements and slush were responsible for a large percentage of weather-related accidents.  Winter weather conditions leading to accidents can be broken down as follows:

  • 17% of accidents occurred during snow or sleet,
  • 13% of accidents occurred on icy pavement, and
  • 14% of weather-related crashes took place on snowy or slushy pavement.

These winter conditions slow vehicle response times, cause drivers to lose vehicle control and can limit the sight of drivers.  Stay safe in these conditions: drive slowly and cautiously.

PennDOT Recommendations for Winter Driving

PennDOT recommends that drivers take the following steps to protect themselves while driving in harsh Pennsylvania winter conditions.  Before driving you will want to remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors and all vehicle lights.  You will also want to remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle.  PennDOT also recommends that you:

  • Carry a winter emergency travel kit.
  • Listen to weather and travel advisories, but 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 distances so you can avoid sudden stops and starts.
  • Beware of “black ice” (where the road looks wet, but is actually frozen).
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps where ice can often form without warning.
  • Carry a cellphone, but never use it while operating your vehicle.
  • 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 park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line.

Always make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you expect to arrive.  This way, if you do 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.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured in a Car Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact us online or call Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC at 888-777-7098 for help.  We have a team of experienced and dedicated attorneys who can discuss your options and rights under Pennsylvania law.