Road Report

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Nov. 6, 2014



Here is some PennDOT workzone safety advice:

Penn DOT strongly urges motorists to pay full attention to their driving when approaching and passing through any highway work zone. Obey the posted speed limit. Refrain from tailgating. Be alert to the possibility of slow-moving or stopped traffic ahead. Bring along some relaxing music to listen to. Plan extra time for your travels. Always buckle up.

– All motorists are required to travel with their headlights turned on in all posted work zones, not just active workzones. It is necessary for drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights to turn on their headlights in order to activate their taillights. The penalty for driving without lit headlights in a posted work zone is $25. Some Interstate work zones will have a speed-monitoring device to alert motorists of their speed prior to entering the work zone.

– Active work zones are designated as such to notify motorists when they enter and leave the work zone. A white flashing light attached to the “Active Work Zone When Flashing” sign will indicate an active work zone. The flashing light will only be activated when workers are present and turned off when workers are not present.

– Motorists caught driving 11 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically will lose their license for 15 days.

Fines for certain traffic violations – including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices – are doubled for active work zones. In addition, the law provides for up to five years of additional jail time for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash that occurred in an active work zone.

Don’t let your friends drive drunk and DO appoint a designated driver. Remember–party hosts are often held liable for drunk driving accidents, which follow parties.

During very warm summer heat, PennDOT is reminding drivers to make sure their vehicles are working properly to ensure safe travel.

Disabled vehicles often cause traffic backups in the summer, and these break downs are almost always preventable,said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E.  If you have a mechanic check your vehicle now, chances are you wont be one of the people stranded on the side of the road.

To help avoid over-heating, a car’s cooling system, engine hoses, drive belts and battery should be inspected by a mechanic.

Motorists should regularly check fluid levels and tire tread depth. To quickly check the tire tread, insert a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down ” if you can see the entire head, your tires are worn and should be replaced. For maximum fuel efficiency, tires should be properly inflated. Hot weather can cause air pressure inside the tire to expand, causing a blowout if the tire is in poor condition.

Hot weather can also contribute to problems on road surfaces. According to PennDOT, extreme heat causes oils deposited from vehicles to be absorbed into the road. Rain forces these oils to the surface, creating slick spots. Motorists should use extra caution while driving during a rainstorm, particularly after an extended period without rain.

PennDOT recommends that motorists enhance their hot-weather preparedness with an emergency kit, similar to those used in the winter months. The kit should be stocked with things that would be needed in the event of a breakdown, such as water, necessary medications, first aid supplies and portable cooling devices, such as battery-powered fans.

For increased safety, motorists should heed state laws that help traffic move smoothly. The state’s Steer Clear law requires motorists to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop or disabled vehicle. Also, state law dictates that motorists must remain in the right lane on multi-lane highways, except to pass.

PennDOT also suggests the following tips for safe summer driving:

— Never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle, which can heat up quickly during hot weather.

— When traveling a long distance, try to plan your trip for early in the day or later in the evening when the weather is cooler.

— Carry a cell phone and charger in case of emergency.

— Carry extra water and non-perishable food.

— State law requires headlights to be turned on any time the wipers are in use due to rain, fog or other conditions.

— Remember to always buckle up and never drink and drive.

PennDOT’s winter driving advice

When driving during inclement weather, drivers should increase space between their vehicle and the vehicles ahead to allow for increased stopping distances, particularly on snow or ice covered roads.

Drivers are reminded to allow plenty of space around an operating snowplow and never attempt to get between several snowplows plowing side-by-side in a “plow train.” Plow trains are used on interstates and other limited access roads to clear as much of the road as possible in one pass.

Now is the time to prepare vehicles for winter weather to help avoid breakdowns. Motorists should have a mechanic check their vehicles’ battery, belts and hoses, heater and defroster, tires and anti-freeze level. Additionally, motorists should regularly check their wipers, lights, fluid levels and tire air pressure.

Among the items motorists should consider keeping in their vehicles if they expect to be far from home in extreme conditions are non-perishable food, a cellular telephone, water, a heavy blanket, a shovel, a warm hat, gloves, boots, a tow rope or chain, jumper cables, a bag of sand, portable cell phone charger and a brightly colored flag or other piece of material.

If motorists become stranded, they should stay in their vehicles and only run their engines and heaters every half hour, or so. Make sure tailpipes are clear and keep downwind windows open for fresh air. They should also tie a brightly colored flag onto the highest point of your vehicle to help rescuers locate them (credit lisa). PennDOT also recommends that travelers carry a cellular phone for safety.

During the winter months, PennDOT advises motorists to be alert to the possibility of snow squalls. Motorists need to be alert for squalls since they can quickly cause roads to become snow-covered and slick. In addition, heavy squalls can also cause whiteout conditions, virtually eliminating a driver’s visibility.

If motorists encounter snow squalls while traveling, PennDOT offers these suggestions:

— 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.

– Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

PennDOT reminds motorists of a new law requiring drivers the removal of all snow and ice from vehicles. There are severe fines if snow or ice that falls from their vehicle causes serious injury or death to other motorists or pedestrians.

The law states, “When snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of the vehicle from which the snow or ice came is subject to a fine of $200 to $1,000 for each offense.”