Staying safe on icy roads

By WEEK Reporter

Staying safe on icy roads

December 20, 2012 Updated Dec 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- A winter weather system is scheduled to hit the Midwest within the next 48 hours.

The Illinois State Police District 8 asks that you make preparations now so you do not have to put yourself or your families’ lives in danger by getting on the road. With snow and high winds, even the shortest trips could become perilous.

Illinois State Police District 8 would like to remind drivers of the following driving tips for in-climate weather:

1) only use cruise control on dry surfaces

2) if you lose traction gradually slow down, do not slam on the brakes

3) use caution when driving on bridges and ramps, frost forms on these surfaces first

4) be careful when approaching shaded areas, this is the last place for ice and snow to melt. Our basic driving tips are the same all year: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, SLOW DOWN, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT and NO TEXTING.

Another important safety factor is vehicle maintenance. Check the tread on your tires. Check the windshield wipers for cracks and wear, and fill your windshield fluid reservoir. Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent water build up that can freeze the line and to ensure you have enough gas for heat if you are stranded. Check your lights and drive with them on during daylight hours in fog or precipitation.

Additional equipment you should put in your vehicle: tools (jack, lug wrench), bottled water, non perishable food, extra warm clothes, boots, hats and gloves, ice scraper, flash light with fresh batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables, blanket/sleeping bag(s), a bright colored cloth to tie on your antennae as a flag if you are stranded and an old cell phone with car charger (a deactivated phone will activate when “911” is dialed).

Motorist requiring road conditions can call the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Winter Road Condition Line at 800-452-IDOT (4368). IDOT reports on the conditions of interstates throughout Illinois, with the exception of toll roads. For information on toll roads, drivers should call 800-865-5394.

There are also Internet sites available to assist in your travel. The Illinois Department of Transportation offers winter road condition reports at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

Remember, the safest place to be in a winter storm is home. Travel only if it is absolutely necessary!

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