The winter driving season is upon us and the Illinois State Police are reminding motorists to take the necessary precautions before getting behind the wheel. Vehicle safety is equally important to driving safely while on the roadways.
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 reduce their speed, increase distances between vehicles, allow extra travel time to get to final destinations, and if involved in a crash, to remain in their vehicles until assistance arrives.
Proper vehicle preparation is also important. Motorists should have their battery, wipers, and tires checked prior to traveling in hazardous weather.
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.
- Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
- Dress warmly for the weather—dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
- 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.
- Always carry a cell phone.
- Always wear a safety belt.