If you decide a trip cannot be delayed, consider using public
transportation. If you decide to drive your vehicle:
Before you leave
Plan your travel and check the latest weather conditions along
your travel route. Listen to weather forecasts on TV, local radio
stations or NOAA Weather Radio. Call 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) to get
current road conditions for Illinois' interstate and freeway
systems. Information is updated every two hours during a storm.
Winter driving is often the most difficult due to rain, fog, snow or
Check your wipers, tires, lights and fluid levels (radiator,
windshield washer, power steering, oil and brakes). Lubricate door
and trunk locks with lock lubricant to prevent them from freezing.
Travel during daylight hours on main roads (avoid back-road
shortcuts) and don't travel alone.
winter storm survival kit in your vehicle.
Provide your itinerary to a friend, relative or co-workers.
Include information on where you are going, the routes you will
travel and when you expect to arrive. When you reach your
destination, make a call to report that you have arrived.
Start your trip with a full tank of gas.
On the road
Buckle your seat belts
Be prepared to turn back and seek shelter if conditions become
Keep your windows clear of snow and ice. Do not start until your
windshield is defrosted.
Drive slower and increase your following distance. Your speed
should be adjusted for the conditions and match the flow of traffic.
Roadway conditions may vary depending on the sun, shade or
roadway surface. Watch for slick spots, especially under bridges, on
overpasses and in shaded spots. Be prepared to react to
If the pavement is snow- or ice-covered, start slowly and brake
gently. Begin braking early when you come to an intersection. If you
start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the
direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction;
then straighten your vehicle.
When a snowplow is coming toward you, allow plenty of room for
the truck to pass. When the centerline is being cleared and salted,
remember that the plow tip may be on or over the line.
When you approach a snowplow from behind, pass with care and only
when you can see the road ahead of the truck. You should not try to
pass in blowing snow; there may be a vehicle in that cloud of snow.
Allow more distance between you and the plow, which may be spreading
While traveling, refuel often -- keeping your gas tank near full
to prevent ice in the tank and fuel lines, which could leave you
stranded. These frequent stops should relieve tense muscles.
[to top of second column]
Pull as far off the road as possible, set your hazard lights to
"flashing," and hang or tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your
antenna, window or door. After snow stops falling, raise the hood to
If you have a cellular phone, call for help.
Stay in your vehicle, where rescuers are most likely to find you.
Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where
you know you can take shelter. Be careful. Distances are distorted
by blowing snow. A building may seem close but be too far to walk to
in deep snow. Visibility can diminish quickly in wind-driven snow.
This, added to the cold, can leave you disoriented.
Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow; then run the
engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Turn on
the dome light at night when running the engine. When the engine is
running, open a window slightly for ventilation. The fresh air will
protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clear away
snow from the exhaust pipe.
Use items in your
winter storm survival kit.
Exercise to keep blood circulating and to maintain body heat by
vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes. In extreme cold or
if you don't have a winter storm survival kit, use road maps, seat
covers and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use
your coats as blankets.
Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to
look out for rescue crews.
Be careful not to use up battery power. Balance electrical energy
needs -- the use of lights, heat and radio -- with supply.
If stranded in a remote rural area or wilderness area, spread a
large cloth over the snow to attract attention of rescue personnel
who may be surveying the area by airplane. Once the blizzard passes,
you may need to leave the vehicle and proceed on foot.
Winter storm survival kit for travelers
Cell phone and
Flashlight with extra
Extra clothing to
A large empty can and
plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary
A smaller can and
waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
Sack of sand or cat
Compass and road maps
Weather Service guide provided by Chris Miller]
[The original guide is a PDF file. To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for the file, click here.]