PECATONICA, Ill. — As the winter driving season approaches, Illinois State Police (ISP) are urging motorists to take the necessary safety precautions before getting behind the wheel, since vehicle safety is equally as important as driving safely.
Extreme weather can have a devastating impact on driving conditions, especially when ice and snow are involved. Freezing rain, icy roads and white-out snow conditions can result in roads hazardous for drivers of all ages. ISP officials urge motorists to drive with caution and to allow extra travel time to get to and from destinations.
Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau said: “Every year, motorists face weather conditions that can have a devastating impact on driving conditions and passenger safety. Whether it’s a semi-truck or a motor vehicle, motorists should drive with extra caution to ensure that accidents are avoided and roads are safe. Reducing your speed, allowing for extra travel time, increasing distances between vehicles, and avoiding unnecessary lane changes are just a few simple precautions drivers can take to make commutes safer.”
ISP District 16 Commander, Captain James Alexander, added: “When crashes occur during extreme weather conditions when no medical attention is needed, we encourage motorists to exchange insurance and driver information with one another. This helps keep our roads clear and motorists safe.”
Motorists should file crash reports at the nearest ISP district headquarters within 10 days if this occurs.
Following are a few safety tips drivers should keep in mind during the winter months:
• Plan ahead and check the forecast — Determine if the trip is necessary during inclement weather.
• Don’t crowd the plow — Remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
• Watch out for black ice — Roads that appear clear may be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas, as all are prone to black ice.
• Keep an eye on the gas tank — Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
• Dress appropriately for the weather — Dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
• Communicate with others — Make sure someone is always aware of your travel route.
• Carry an emergency car care kit — 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.
• Always carry a cell phone.
• Always wear a safety belt.
Motorists can check on interstate road conditions by contacting the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) at 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or on the Internet at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.
From the Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2012, issue