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IDOT says, ‘Winter weather – get it together’

Safe driving tips offered for winter travel season

As December approaches, the Illinois Department of Transportation offers driving tips for winter road conditions.

Winter weather can be unpredictable in Illinois, so preparation is a key part to staying safe when traveling. Throughout the winter, especially during adverse conditions, motorists should practice basic winter driving skills and build extra time into their schedules.

As part of IDOT’s “Winter Weather – Get it Together” campaign, all travelers are encouraged to follow simple rules and tips during the winter months:

• Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois.

• Slow down. Slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking all are required in winter driving conditions.

• Drop it and drive. Put down the handheld devices – it, too, is the law in Illinois.

• Don’t crowd the plow. A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You might see them, but they might not see you.

• Avoid using cruise control in snow and ice.

• Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous.

• Be especially careful approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All are prone to icing.

• 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. Consider taking public transportation if it is an option.

• Prepare an emergency 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 cell phone and a car charger in case of emergency.

• Follow Scott’s Law. Slow down and move over for stopped emergency, construction and maintenance vehicles.

• For a list of suggested maintenance for your car, visit the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s winter driving website.

Before leaving the house, drivers are encouraged to check for continually updated information on winter road conditions, weather radars, road and bridge closures and other traffic-related information. The site was recently redesigned in a mobile-friendly format, providing a more convenient way to access important information quickly.

The winter road conditions map gives travelers the ability to zoom in to their location, travel route or destination and get real-time road conditions. At any time, motorists can check travel conditions by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or 1-800-TOLL-FYI.

This winter, IDOT has more than 1,700 trucks available for deployment to plow almost 16,000 miles of roads statewide, the equivalent of driving from Springfield to the tip of South America and back. Last year, IDOT spread almost 305,000 tons of salt statewide.

Follow IDOT on Facebook and Twitter for updates on travel throughout the winter.

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