We got our first dose of winter weather last week and drivers need to get their slick-driving muscles back in order.
Travel was noticably slower with the snow but we haven't seen the worse that Ol' Man Winter can dish out. A few inches of snow is one thing but wait until the heavy stuff hits along with sleet or freezing rain, now that will be a true test of Midwest driving skills.
Transportation officials have released the requisite warnings about the dangers of winter driving and while it may seem a bit paternal, one would be wise to listen up.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Tollway have started their "Ice and Snow-Take it Slow" campaign, reminding motorists to reduce speed, bluckle-up safety belts and ditch the distracted driving during bad weather (not bad advice during more pleasant conditions, too).
Here are some other safety tips:
Other safety tips include:
• Don't crowd the plow - 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 but can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas - all are prone to black ice.
• Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle's fuel line from freezing.
• Do not travel unless absolutely necessary - if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is 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.
• Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance.
• Always wear a safety belt.
• Motorists are urged to check travel conditions before any trip. You can get interstate condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the "winter road conditions" icon.
The Getting Around Illinois website was recently redesigned and relaunched and officials say it makes it easier to get updates on travel information.
Just remember not to access it while behind the wheel and moving.