PENNDOT - FAQ - Winter Services
Q. How does PENNDOT prepare for a major snowstorm?
Q. I live on a back road. Why does it take so long for PENNDOT to service my road?
Q. What does PENNDOT put on slippery roads in the winter?
Q. How does PENNDOT service all the state roads throughout a county
A. "Stockpiles" are located throughout each county, which contain anti-skid material. Several trucks are assigned to each stockpile to service the roads in that area of the county. PENNDOT also receives assistance from local municipalities and contract sales on servicing some roads.
Q. During a snowstorm, why is only one lane plowed on a multi-lane highway?
A. Often, only one lane is plowed because the driving lane has the highest priority during the storm. Whenever possible, "tandem plowing" (two trucks plowing side by side) takes place.
Q. Why does a truck move so slowly while plowing snow and spreading anti-skid?
Q. What is a safe distance to follow behind a truck plowing snow?
Q. Why do bridges freeze before road surfaces?
Q. What is "black ice"?
Q. What does it mean to "pump your brakes"?
Q. Why doesn't PENNDOT replace mailboxes that it knocks down?
Q. How can I prepare my vehicle for winter travel?
A. Clean snow and ice from your windows and mirrors before traveling. Make sure all lights are working, and always use your headlights during a storm. Keep wiper blades in good condition, and keep all fluid levels full. Check tires for tread and proper inflation, and add weight to rear-wheel drive vehicles. Carry emergency equipment in your car such as flares, a shovel, chains, flashlight, jumper cables, sand, a hat, boots and gloves.
Q. Are there any "rules" for winter driving?
Q. Why does PENNDOT plow snow on my sidewalks?
A. By legislation, PENNDOT is required to maintain the traveled cartway, defined as traveled lanes, as its first priority. When limited storage space or shoulder areas allow no alternative, the decision must be made to either plow the highway at the risk of the sidewalk or to do nothing. Based on case law in Commonwealth Court, PENNDOT may inconvenience the property owner by plowing snow on the sidewalk rather than allowing snow accumulation to become a hazard on the highway. In consideration of our customers, we always recommend that where minimal storage space for plowed snow is an issue, our operators should exercise caution and minimize the impact on sidewalks whenever possible.
Q. Why do you have to plow my driveway shut?
Q. What are the dates when it is permissible to have on studded snow tires?
A. Studded snow tires are permissible from November 1 until April 15.
Q. In inclement weather, people call asking what the road conditions are. Who can they call?
A. For current Interstate road conditions throughout Pennsylvania, people can call 1-888-783-6783. For those with Internet access, statewide road conditions are available.
Q. Will PENNDOT pay for any paint chips, cracks, windshields, or other damage to my car caused by their spreading of anti-sk...
Q. Will PENNDOT repair grass (turf) damage after heavy snow removal activities and clean debris out of my yard?
A. Typically, this damage occurs during very heavy snowfalls requiring the use of loaders and large snow blowers, which do not perform in the same manner as our truck-mounted snowplows. However, the damage is generally confined to the legal right-of-way. While it is unsightly, the frequency and severity is proportional to the snow depths. PENNDOT does not repair these turf damages or remove deposited debris within the right-of-way limits on a routine basis. If property owners insist on reimbursement for conditions that occur beyond the legal right-of-way, we supply the standard Department of General Services claim form, which is available through the PENNDOT county offices.