SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning the public that a winter storm arriving this evening will make travel a challenge throughout much of Illinois, with some areas possibly receiving up to 8 inches of snow. Motorists should be prepared for high winds and colder temperatures persisting through the weekend, causing drifting and icing even on treated surfaces.
“The IDOT snow-and-ice teams will be working throughout the weekend making roads as safe as possible,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Omer Osman. “The public is advised to plan ahead and ask if their trip is necessary before heading out. Please, if you are driving, slow down, anticipate much longer travel times, increase your distance between other vehicles and exercise caution when sharing the road with our plows.”
Throughout the state, IDOT crews today will be pretreating bridges, overpasses, ramps and other areas susceptible to icing. During the storm, IDOT will have available more than 1,700 trucks and equipment statewide, applying salt and treating roads.
The National Weather Service is forecasting snow to begin this evening across northern and central Illinois, with totals ranging between 2 and 8 inches by Saturday evening. The southern part of the state is expected to see a mix of precipitation with the potential for icing. Gusty winds and low temperatures the remainder of the weekend will create blowing and drifting, reducing visibility to whiteout conditions at times and limiting the effectiveness of salt.
Motorists should expect slick conditions and remain extra cautious at all times.
Tips if you must travel:
• Get up-to-date conditions at GettingAroundIllinois.com.
• Fill up your gas tank and pack winter weather essentials such as a cellphone charger, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, first-aid kit, washer fluid and an ice scraper.
• Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
• Use extra caution in areas susceptible to ice, including ramps, bridges, curves and shady areas.
• Give plows plenty of room and don’t pass unnecessarily. Move over for emergency responders.
• Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law and your best protection in the event of a crash.
• If you are involved in a crash, remain inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle near a busy roadway can have fatal consequences.
• Carry a cellphone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for assistance in case of emergency. Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency situation.
As always, for regular updates on statewide road conditions, visit GettingAroundIllinois.com. You can also follow IDOT on Facebook and Twitter.