It’s time to focus on safe winter driving … again

Midwestern winters can be challenging and unpredictable – quickly moving from rain to sleet to several inches of snow on the ground. Drivers must be prepared to safely navigate highways and surface streets in numerous rapidly changing situations.

With accumulating snow already arriving in some places and many more regions waiting on edge, the Illinois Department of Transportation offers many helpful suggestions for drivers about to travel through dangerous conditions, including:

  • Avoid distractions: This is advice for all seasons, but it becomes more crucial when driving in poor weather. Drivers should avoid making calls, texting or eating while behind the wheel. Focus on the road conditions and the actions of the cars around you.
  • Carefully approach intersections: In slick, icy or snowy conditions, it might be more difficult to come to a safe stop. Give yourself extra room and begin slowing sooner than you normally would.
  • Fill an emergency kit: A winter kit should be kept in your car in case disaster strikes. This kit could contain items such as flares, jumper cables, shovel, ice scraper and traction material. Additionally, you should keep a blanket, water, a first-aid kit and some non-perishable food in the car in case you are stranded.
  • Watch traffic around you: Slow down and move over for emergency vehicles, snowplows and tow trucks working on the side of the road.
  • Perform necessary maintenance: This can mean stops to the mechanic or something as simple as keeping your gas tank full. Additionally, drivers should regularly check the air pressure in their tires and verify the integrity of their spare.

Illinois drivers will be challenged for the next several months. Winter driving can be dangerous even under deceptively calm conditions. With several inches of snow on the ground, though, simply driving to the neighborhood market can be hazardous.