PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Winter is coming, and that means cold, wind, and snow. One of the most dangerous occurrences during winter time are snow squalls.

According to the National Weather Service, snow squalls are brief but intense periods of heavy snow, strong winds, and whiteout conditions. Squalls can also cause roads to be icy. These weather events are usually associated with strong cold fronts.

Because they usually occur rather quickly, many motorists get caught off guard due to the rapidly deteriorating conditions. In addition, snow squalls can lead to a flash freeze of roads. This can cause chain reaction accidents and pile-ups.

Back in 2022, three people were killed in a pileup crash involving more than 50 vehicles in Schuylkill County, as blinding snow moved through the area due to a squall. The National Weather Service stated that there is no safe place on a highway due to a snow squall.

Some precautions that can be taken to protect yourself from snow squalls are:

  • If you can, exit the highway and wait for the squall to pass.
  • If you are stuck on the road during a squall, the National Weather Service says to reduce your speed, turn on your headlights, and avoid slamming on your breaks.
  • If you are caught in a snow squall pile-up, drive slowly forward to the front of the pile-up if it is possible.
  • If you are stopped in a pile-up, do not stand outside your vehicle or in the roadway.
  • If you can do so safely, get as far away from the roadway, If you can not exit your vehicle, sit inside with the seatbelt on.

More information on snow squalls can be found here.