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Additional Speed and Vehicle Restrictions Lifted on Interstates in the Northwest Region

​The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has lifted the speed and vehicle restrictions on some interstates in the northwest region.

Speed and vehicle restrictions have been lifted on the Interstate 79 in Mercer, Crawford, and Erie counties. Similar restrictions on Interstate 80 in Mercer and Venango counties were lifted earlier today.

Vehicle restrictions have been lifted on Interstate 86 and Interstate 90 in Erie County. A speed reduction of 45 mph remains in place on those highways, and commercial vehicles must use the right lane only.

Motorists are reminded that winter weather remains, with gusty winds that could produce whiteout conditions. Drivers are urged to avoid unnecessary travel.

During squalls or whiteout conditions, do not stop on the roadway as this could cause a chain-reaction collision. Come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so. 

For motorists who must travel during times of snow or sleet, PennDOT offers this advice: 

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions. 
  • Turn on your headlights. 
  • Stay in your lane. 
  • Increase your following distance. 
  • Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient. 
  • Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required. 
  • Use defroster and wipers. 
  • Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice. 
  • During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so. 
  • Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could create a chain-reaction collision. 
  • Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely. 
  • Give ample room for plow truck drivers to treat the roadways and never pass between two trucks operating in a plow line.   
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive. 

Although PennDOT crews have been treating roadways, the department’s primary goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow. PennDOT will continue to treat roadways throughout the storm until precipitation stops and roads are safe and passable. Motorists should leave plenty of space – six car lengths – when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials.

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts.

The department also asks motorists to allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter materials.

PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.

More information about how to prepare for any type of emergency, including free downloadable checklists of items to keep in your home, car, and at work, and specific information for people with access and functional needs or pets, is available on the Ready PA webpage.

For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit www.PennDOT.gov/winter.  

Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties at www.penndot.gov/District1.

Follow PennDOT’s northwest region on Twitter or Facebook.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Harry, 814-678-5035

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