With winter weather in the forecast, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding drivers to be careful when driving.

PennDOT District 1, which serves Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties, said its plow trucks and other equipment are ready for any winter conditions.

Salt, anti-skid and other materials are also ready to go. As necessary, crews will work around the clock to keep the roads safe and passable.

PennDOT warns drivers roadways will not be free of snow while precipitation is falling. Roads that look wet may actually be icy due to freezing temperatures. Drivers should use extra caution when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning.

Motorists are asked to stay about six car lengths away when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials.

PennDOT is also offering the following advice if you are traveling in the sleet or snow:

  • 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.

While people are asked to avoid traveling during winter storms, drivers can check road conditions by visiting www.511PA.com.