Winter Storm, Treacherous Driving Conditions

Across Northern Illinois Tonight and Friday

 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning the public that a major winter storm with the potential for 12 inches of snow in northern Illinois will create treacherous conditions tonight and Friday. Driving should be avoided, with snow and ice covered roads, limited visibility and extremely long travel times anticipated.

“The IDOT team is fully prepared to work around the clock to keep roads as free of snow and ice as possible,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Before getting behind the wheel, please ask yourself if your trip is really necessary. Consider taking public transportation or postponing your trip. If you must drive, be prepared to add plenty of extra time in your schedule.”

Throughout the day, IDOT crews are preparing trucks and equipment to be deployed later today and likely throughout the weekend.

The National Weather Service is predicting snow to begin falling in the western part of the state between 4 and 6 p.m., hitting the Chicago area between 6 and 8 p.m. The primary area impacted will be along and north of the Interstate 80 corridor.

Flurries are forecast initially before the snow intensifies later this evening. A total of five to six inches is expected during the overnight hours, with another five to six falling throughout the day Friday, affecting both the morning and evening commutes.

Motorists should expect slick roadways and be extra cautious when driving. For regular updates on statewide road conditions, visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com. You can also follow IDOT on Facebook and Twitter.

Do not crowd the plow. If you encounter a plow during your travels, please slow down, increase your driving distance and remain patient. Snow plows have a job to do and they need room to do it.

Other tips 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.

• Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

• Carry a cellphone 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 Twitter at http://twitter.com/IDOT_Illinois/. Updates on construction and traffic information are available at www.travelmidwest.com.

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