IDOT Reminds of Winter Driving Guidelines

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Published on January 31 2014 2:59 pm
Last Updated on January 31 2014 7:09 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that road conditions in Chicago and other areas of the state are expected to change with the anticipated snow and high winds this weekend.

IDOT has winter weather crews across the state on standby and motorists should beware of slick and hazardous driving conditions in some areas across the state.

“As this next weather system moves through Illinois, motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when on the roads,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “With the high winds expected, blowing and drifting snow will impact visibility, so motorists are encouraged to take it slow, give plow drivers plenty of room, buckle up and avoid distractions.”

Motorists are also reminded of the “Move Over” law. The law, enacted in 2002 and also known as Scott’s Law, requires motorists to slow down and, if possible, change lanes when approaching police, emergency or construction vehicles displaying flashing warning lights.
Please remember to drive safe and pay attention to what is going on around you when driving. Avoid distractions that may lead to crashes and traffic violations. Move over as indicated and proceed with caution around emergency vehicles and in work zones.

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low.

During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For those traveling, check www.gettingaroundillinois.com for the latest winter road conditions and road closures.

Safety tips to remember:

•Allow extra time for travel during the winter months

•Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.

•Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas - all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

•Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

•Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary - if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

•Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

•Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.

•Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).

•Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.

•Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.