West Virginia Parkways Authority

Traveler Safety Tips

Patron/Vehicle Safety - Entering Toll Plazas

  • Have toll amount ready before starting road trip (review toll rates).
  • Reduce speed when entering toll zone to 35 mph.
  • Come to a complete stop once at toll booth (E-Z Pass patrons pass through at 5 mph or less).
  • Clear transaction with toll collector before attempting to pull away from toll booth.
  • Stay alert to toll collectors, maintenance personnel and patrons crossing lanes at toll plazas.
  • Stay alert to other vehicles making last second lane changing decisions.
  • Stay out of lanes dedicated and signed as “E-ZPASS ONLY” (flashing yellow light area) unless using E-Z Pass.  These are for transponder use only!
  • NOTE:  No debit/credit cards are accepted at the toll plazas.  The only acceptable method of payment is cash or E-ZPass.

General Driving Tips

  • No parking or stopping in travel lanes, on ramps or at bridges and other structures.
  • To save time, have exact change when paying your toll.
  • Use caution and follow the laws regulating speed limits.
  • No U-turns.
  • Do not tailgate.
  • Buckle your seatbelt.
  • No pedestrians allowed and hitchhiking is prohibited.
  • Exit from the lane closest to the exit and always use your signal.
  • Check you fluid levels and tire pressure before starting your trip.
  • Use caution exiting toll plazas and merging back onto the mainline.
  • West Virginia law requires all front seat passengers to wear a SEATBELT and all passengers in the back seat under 18 years of age.

Holiday and Summer Weekend Driving Tips

  • During holidays and weekends throughout the summer, the West Virginia Turnpike experiences peak traffic periods. If traveling during this time, to help us make your travel quick and safe, plan ahead by having the exact tolls for your entire trip.

Disabled Vehicles

  • Move your vehicle off the roadway to a safe location.
  • Do not attempt to travel on the shoulder of the roadway.
  • Remain with your vehicle.
  • Do not attempt to hitchhike.
  • Turn on your hazard flasher lights.
  • If you have a cellular phone, contact emergency service by calling *TP.
  • If you have no cellular phone, await the State Police patrol or Courtesy patrol.
  • Regular road checks are made 24 hours a day/365 days a year.
  • Follow DOT regulations if commercial vehicle.

Adverse Weather Tips

  • Drive at speeds appropriate for conditions.
  • Use extra care as you travel during rain, snow and icy weather conditions.
  • Allow extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.
  • Refrain from traveling too close to large vehicles to avoid the water spray of their tires.
  • Make sure the lights and wipers on your vehicle are working properly.
  • State law requires motorists to turn on headlights when windshield wipers are in use.
  • Use your inside defrosters to keep windows clear.

Adhere to All Posted Speed Limits as Follows:

  • Milepost  9  to Milepost 60    70 mph
  • Milepost 60 to Milepost 85    60 mph
  • Milepost 85 to Milepost 93    70 mph
  • Milepost 93 to Milepost 95    60 mph

Construction Zones

  • Reduced to 55 mph in 70 mph zone
  • Reduced to 50 mph in 60 mph zone

Toll Plazas

  • Barrier "A" (Ghent) - 70 mph reduces to 35 mph
  • Barrier "B" (Pax) - 70 mph reduces to 35 mph
  • Barrier "C" (Chelyan) - 60 mph reduces to 35 mph
  • N. Beckley South (Rt. 19) - 65 mph reduces to 35 mph
  • N. Beckley North (Rt. 19) - 70 mph reduces to 35 mph
  • E-ZPass vehicles reduce speed to 5 miles per hour
  • A Pilot car is required for vehicles or loads 12 feet or greater in width, greater than 75 feet in length, with load overhang greater than 10 feet or as determined by inspection of the load.  A revolving light may be substituted for lengths of 75'1" to 85' and load overhangs greater than 10 feet. 

Winter Driving Tips

  • The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.
  • Don’t go out until the snow plows have had a chance to do their work.
  • Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
  • If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle road conditions.

Driving Safely

  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop.  You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding.  If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses as they will freeze first.  Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet you may encourter ice on bridges or shady areas of the road.
  • Be careful when passing snow plows, as the drivers have limited visibility and the road in front of them may be worse than the road behind.
  • Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions.
  • Avoid abrupt actions while steering, braking or accelerating to help lessen your chance of losing control.
  • Inform someone of your route and expected arrival time.
  • All drivers, regardless of age, are banned from using hand-held cell phones in West Virginia.
  • All motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear helmets in West Virginia.
  • With regard to safety and traffic conditions, slow down and change lanes whenever possible for all law enforcement, emergency vehicles, first responders and tow trucks when they are flashing their lights.
  • Always Buckle Up - It's the Law!

If Your Rear Wheels Skid

  • Take your foot off the accelerator.
  • Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go.  If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left.  If they're sliding right, steer right.
  • If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side.  You may have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  • If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  • If you have anti-lock (ABS), do not pump the brakes.  Apply steady pressure to the brakes.

If Your Front Wheels Skid

  • Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
  • As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return.  As it does, steer in the direction you want to go.  Put the transmission in "Drive" or release the clutch and accelerate gently.

If You Get Stuck

  • Do not spin your wheels.  This will only dig you in deeper.
  • Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  • Use a light touch on the gas to ease your vehicle out.
  • Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the vehicle.
  • Place abrasives, such as sand or gravel in the path of the wheels to help gain traction.
  • Try rocking the vehicle by shifting from forward to reverse and back again.  Each time your're in gear slightly press the accelerator until the vehicle gets going.

Prepare Your Vehicle in Advance of a Trip

  • Check the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and belts.
  • Check the battery.
  • Check the tires.
  • Check the anti-freeze.
  • Try to keep at least a half of a tank of fuel.


  • Monitor weather forecasts in your traveling area and plan travel accordingly.

Essential Equipment

  • Properly inflated spare tire, lug wrench and jack.
  • Shovel.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Tow and tire chains.
  • Abrasive material, such as a bag of kitty litter.
  • Tool kit.

If You Become Stranded

  • Do not leave your vehicle unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help and are certain you will improve situation.
  • Conserve the vehicle's fuel by running the motor and heater for about 10 minutes every hour.  Make sure the vehicle's exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow.
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia.
  • To help attract attention, use road flare placed behind the vehicle.