(WETM) — With wintry winds and snow in the forecast for the Twin Tiers, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reminding motorists in the area to slow down, pay attention and use caution on roadways due to snow squalls and other low-visibility conditions that may occur.

PennDOT says that avoiding or delaying unnecessary travel during winter storms is the safest choice, but if you must travel and encounter a snow squall or blowing snow, you should:

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights. If caught in a snow squall, turn on your hazard lights.
  • Stay in your lane and increase your following distance.
  • Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
  • Do not drive distracted; your full attention is required.
  • Use your defroster and wipers.
  • Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
  • During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely pull off the roadway.
  • Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could cause 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 drive impaired.

Extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning. PennDOT advises that motorists should leave plenty of space when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials.

Drivers are also advised to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. The release says that a basic kit should include phone charges, non-perishable food, water, a blanket, a small shovel, and warm clothes.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com, a free service that is available 24 hours a day and provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.