Monday, January 27, 2014
 
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IDOT winter crews ready for whiteout conditions, high winds, cold temperatures statewide

Motorists reminded: 'Ice & Snow, Take it Slow'

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[January 27, 2014]  CHICAGO The Illinois Department of Transportation announced on Sunday that road conditions in some areas statewide are expected to change with anticipated snow, extremely cold temperatures and high winds, as high as 50 mph. Some state routes in northern Illinois were still covered with previous snow and ice, creating slick and hazardous driving conditions for motorists.

IDOT has winter weather crews deployed in areas affected and thousands on standby statewide to address the winter weather on state routes to help ensure the safety of the motoring public.

"IDOT winter weather crews have been out in full force in impacted areas clearing roads this weekend and are ready for the additional snow accumulation and cold temperatures expected (Monday) and throughout the week," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. "With the high winds expected, blowing and drifting snow will continue to impact visibility, causing whiteout conditions in some areas. Motorists need to proceed with extreme caution, take it slow, give plow drivers plenty of room, buckle up and avoid distractions when behind the wheel."

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 a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepWarm/
Pages/warmingcenter.aspx
.

For the latest winter road conditions and road closures, visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

Those traveling by Amtrak trains are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for service alerts and passenger notices.

Safety tips to remember:

  • Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.

  • Don't crowd the plow. A snowplow 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 prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

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  • 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 with jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, nonperishable 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 cellphone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember that using hand-held 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 (865-5394) or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the "Winter Road Conditions" icon.

[Text from Illinois Department of Transportation file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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