With the prediction of falling temperatures and snow beginning tonight into the weekend, Illinois State Police (ISP) District 19 is reminding motorists to take the necessary precautions before getting behind the wheel. Vehicle safety is equally important to driving safely while on the roadways.
“As winter weather impacts our area over the next several days, additional challenges and responsibilities for drivers exist,” said District 19 Commander Captain Cory Ristvedt. “We ask that drivers be well prepared: confirm your vehicle is properly maintained to operate in cold temperatures, allow extra time to reach your destination, ensure passengers are seat belted, and drive defensively by slowing down and increasing your following distance from other vehicles,” added Captain Ristvedt.
Stranded motorists are encouraged to remain inside their vehicles and wait for first responders to arrive. Motorists involved in crashes that do not require emergency assistance may file a crash report within 10 days at the nearest police station.
Illinois State Police also want to remind motorists to yield to emergency and snow removal equipment. Scott’s Law (Move-Over Law) requires drivers to reduce speed, change lanes if possible, and proceed with due caution when approaching emergency vehicles.
Further, it requires motorists to slow down and move over for any disabled motorist exhibiting flashing hazard lights.
Other safety tips include:
Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
Dress warmly – choose layers of clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing. Plenty of fuel is also important if your vehicle becomes stranded.
Clear ice and snow from your vehicle windows and lights.
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 – all are prone to black ice.
Have an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, a flashlight, a small ice scraper, blankets, gloves, food items, water, and a first aid kit.
Carry a cell phone AND a charger.
Always wear a safety belt.
Motorists are urged to check travel conditions before any trip. You may get interstate condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or on the Internet at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.