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Winter weather causes several crashes, travel restrictions

Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, PA – All local school districts are closed today, along with colleges, tech schools, preschools, and headstart programs.

If you do not absolutely have to be on the roadways, please stay home if possible.

Many car crashes have already been reported, including some that have shut down roadways until they can be cleaned up.

Please remember that even if YOUR car is able to drive in this weather and you feel comfortable driving in the snow, sometimes crashes are caused by others who are not as winter-ready.

If you must be on the roadways, give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you’re going. Take it slow. Keep your eyes on the road. Wear your seat belt, as it is your best defense in the case of a crash. Give yourself extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

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Indiana, PA – Due to severe winter weather conditions, PennDOT is temporarily reducing the speed limit on Interstate 80 in Butler, Clarion and Jefferson counties.

Motorists are urged to postpone unnecessary travel. Those who must travel will see speeds reduced to 45 mph. Commercial vehicles are also restricted to the right (travel) lane while this reduction is in place.

Drivers are advised to refill or pack an emergency travel kit in the event they become stranded. Suggested contents include a flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, first aid supplies, bottled water, and non-perishable food items.

Drivers are also urged to clear all snow and ice from a vehicle before driving. This provides an unobstructed view for the driver and eliminates the possibility of snow or ice falling from your vehicle and causing a roadway hazard. Under the vehicle code, the driver of a vehicle from which snow or ice is dislodged or falls shall be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 in cases where that snow or ices strikes another vehicle or pedestrian and causes death or serious bodily injury.

Being safe around plows is also part of cautious winter driving. PennDOT urges the following when sharing the road:
• Remain at least six car lengths behind an operating plow and be aware the plow is wider than the truck.
• Stay alert since plow trucks typically travel slower than regular traffic.
• Move as far away from the centerline as safely possible when a plow truck is traveling toward you. Remember that snow can obscure the width of the plow.
• Never attempt to pass or get between trucks plowing side by side in a “plow train.” The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for you, the equipment operators and nearby vehicles.
• Never travel next to a plow truck because there are blind spots where the operator can’t see. Plow trucks can also occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or packed snow.
• Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Under Pennsylvania law, vehicle lights must be on when a vehicle’s wipers are on due to inclement weather.

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 950 traffic cameras.

Subscribe to PennDOT news in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson counties at www.penndot.gov/District10.