More than a foot of snow fell in northwestern part of the state over the weekend, a rough and early start to winter in Pennsylvania. And with meteorologists predicting a snowy winter, drivers across the state should prepare for tricky driving conditions.

Icy road conditions and large snowfalls cause so many accidents every year it may seem impossible to avoid being in a wreck. But, by following these tips you can reduce your chances of being a winter driving statistic. 

Prepping your vehicle

It’s always better to be prepared. Before winter really gets underway, check your vehicle’s heater and defroster and ensure your tires are suitable for winter driving. PennDOT also advises drivers to have your vehicle’s brakes, battery, hoses and belts checked prior to winter driving season. 

Staying safe in snowy road conditions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Pennsylvania was among the states with the highest number of winter car accidents from 2011 to 2015. Many of these accidents are caused by simply driving too fast. Winter driving tips from PennDOT include:

  • Avoid sudden stops and starts
  • Slow down and leave plenty of stopping distance
  • Be extra cautious on bridges and highway ramps, which often quickly freeze over
  • Watch out for roads that appear wet, they may actually be frozen over with black ice
  • Avoid using cruise control when there is snow on the road
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing side by side (known as a plow line)

You should also be sure to remove snow from the hood and roof of your vehicle before heading out on the road. Digging your car out of a snow bank is grueling – but under state law, you can receive a ticket if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes another car or a person. 

Taking a little extra time when the snow starts falling can save you damage to your vehicle or even save a life. Ensure your vehicle is ready for tricky driving and be sure to talk to your kids if they arere hitting the road in winter for the first time.