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PennDOT crews hit the road early ahead of winter storm

As winter weather rolls into our area today, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation crews were on the road early.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — As winter weather rolls into our area today, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) crews were already hitting the road to make sure drivers could get to their destination safely. 

Wade Nace, an equipment operator, has been with PennDOT for several years. 

“Today I got my plow on and my salt ready and I’m ready to go out and start plowing when it needs it,” said Nace. 

Nace has years of experience in driving both trucks and cars. He told FOX43 News that the most important part of being safe is looking out for drivers around you as well as being aware of how to maneuver your own vehicle. 

“It’s best for drivers to slow down and take their time driving—and keep their eyes out for us out here,” said Nace. “Stay at least 500 feet away from the truck—remember we’re putting the salt down so you’re not driving on a slippery road.”

PennDOT crews start to treat the roadways two days before a storm rolls in. Pre-treating the road requires salt brine, and during a storm, rock salt is put onto the roadways. 

“We might put 100 pounds down an hour, or we can do up to 600 pounds an hour—it all depends on the storm,” said Nace. 

Ahead of the snowy conditions, AAA offers some tips on how to stay safe if you must venture out on roads covered in ice.

Cold weather driving tips:

  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of treads.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
  • Tips for driving in the snow
  • Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
  • Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

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