As the winter driving season approaches, Illinois State Police 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 road hazardous for drivers of all ages.
Illinois State Police officials urge motorists to drive with caution, and to allow extra travel time to get to and from destinations.
"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," said Illinois State Police District Twelve Commander Morrie Fraser. "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," he added.
When crashes occur during extreme weather conditions, the ISP encourages motorists to exchange insurance and driver information to keep motorists safe and the roads clear, unless medical attention is required. Motorists can file crash reports at the nearest ISP District within 10 days.
Listed below 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 - all are prone to black ice.
Always keep your vehicle's 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.
Make sure someone is always aware of your travel route.
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.