January 11 – The Illinois Department of Transportation says the heavy snowfall expected from a major winter storm headed to the area will impact travel and road conditions.
“Before you head out into the storm, please ask yourself if this trip is necessary,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Omer Osman. “We are working hard to keep roads safe, but conditions will be challenging. If you do venture out, be prepared for increased travel times.”
The storm is expected to reach the area Friday evening and continue throughout the day Saturday. Up to eight inches of snow are expected during the overnight hours in some areas, with additional accumulation Saturday of four to five inches.
IDOT began preparing for the storm by pre-treating roads and bridges susceptible to icing. The agency said plowing will likely begin later Friday and continue throughout the weekend.
With heavier traffic making it more of a challenge for plows to clear the roads, IDOT recommends avoiding travel during the storm if possible. Drivers who encounter a plow should slow down, increase driving distance and remain patient.
Other tips for travelers during the storm:
- 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.
- Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
- Carry a cell phone 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.
“If you must drive during hazardous winter weather conditions, please ensure you practice safe driving habits,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz.