Freezing Rain, Snow, Bitter Cold to Impact Travel in Illinois

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Motorists should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions in areas

CHICAGO  – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is advising the public that a combination of freezing rain, snow, high winds and extreme cold is expected to significantly impact travel this evening and during the overnight hours. Icy conditions and low visibility could make driving treacherous.

If you have plans to be on the roads tonight and tomorrow morning, you should first ask yourself if your trip is necessary before heading out,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “We are working hard throughout the weekend to make our roads safe and passable as quickly as possible, but conditions are expected to be very challenging. Please give our crews room to work and expect much longer than usual travel times.”

Since Friday, whenever possible, IDOT crews have been pretreating bridges, overpasses and ramps, the areas most susceptible to icing. The department will have more than 1,700 trucks and 3,700 employees available statewide to battle the storm, applying salt and plowing where needed.

Motorists still should expect slick roadways and be extra cautious when driving. The public is encouraged to plan ahead and allow plenty of extra time for any kind of travel. For regular updates on statewide road conditions, visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

The National Weather Service is forecasting approximately up to four inches of snow in the far northern part of the state starting this evening, with reduced amounts to the south. Freezing rain from earlier in the day, combined with plummeting temperatures and high winds is anticipated to limit the impact of salt and other melting materials, making roads icy in spots.

“Winter weather can have a devastating impact on driving conditions. High winds, sub-freezing temperatures, and white-out conditions are expected throughout the night,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. “Avoid unnecessary travel. If you must travel, reduce your speed, increase following distance, and be watchful for black ice on bridges and roadways. Remember to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles.”

If you have to travel:

• Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All are prone to black ice, an invisible danger during some winter storms.

• Make sure your gas tank is full.

• Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first aid kit, washer fluid, and an ice scraper in your vehicle.

• If you have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

• Carry a cell phone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for roadway assistance in case of

emergency. Reminder: using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency situation.

• Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.

• Follow IDOT on and for updates on conditions.

 

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