The Illinois Department of Transportation launched its "Ice and Snow — Take it Slow" campaign Friday to encourage motorists to prepare for dangerous winter driving conditions.
In partnership with Illinois State Police, IDOT officials stressed safety when driving in snow and ice.
Illinois State Trooper Master Sgt. Tom Burek said it's important that people who have to drive in hazardous weather tell loved ones where they are heading. They also should carry a cell phone and make sure it's charged. He stressed not texting while driving, adding it's illegal in Illinois.
Speed is the No. 1 cause of winter crashes, Master Sgt. Burek said.
"It's crucial to adjust your speed for the driving conditions, and increase the distance between you and the car ahead of you," he said. "Don't think that because you get in a dry patch, you can increase your speed."
Illinois has more than 3,680 employees and 1,730 pieces of equipment ready for winter weather. Officials said 84,000 tons of salt are on hand for use in northern Illinois.
"The state is fully stocked with salt this year, but don't expect winter to be as nice as last year," Trisha Thompson, IDOT operations field engineer, said. "Make sure you check winter road conditions before you head out."
For Illinois road conditions, call 1 (800) TOLL-FYI (865-5394)or visit gettingaroundillinois.com and select the winter road conditions icon.For Iowa conditions, call 511 or 1 (800) 288-1047, or visit 511ia.org.
Winter driving refresher
Motorists should refresh their winter driving know-how as the season approaches. Remember:
— Allow plenty of space when driving near a snow plow. Snow plow operators' field of vision is restricted.
— Watch out for black ice, a thin layer of ice on a road surface that is nearly impossible to see. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps and bridges; all are prone to black ice.
— Keep gas tanks at least two-thirds full to prevent fuel lines from freezing.
— Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary.
— Keep an emergency car care kit with jumper cables, an ice scraper, flares or reflectors, non-perishable food, blankets and a first aid kit.
— Carry a cell phone. For roadway assistance, dial *999 in Illinois or 511 in Iowa.
Today is Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: For the whole of last week we have been favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather, and mercury ranging from 40 to 65 above zero. The river is entirely clear of ice and looks as mild and soft as summer. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Albert Johnson was appointed a deputy in the circuit clerk's office. 1913 -- 100 years ago: 800 or more tons of earth in six landslides covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: One of the 350-foot towers, which with a new transmitter will increase the power of WHBF to 1,000 watts day and night, has been completed on a 20-acre tract at 23rd Avenue and 51st Street, Moline. 1963 -- 50 years ago: In cooperation with The Associated Press, The Argus presents to its readers a complete, beginning-to-end account of one of the most tragic and dreadful chapters in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy, available in book form, and now in preparation. The book is entitled "The Torch is Passed." 1988 -- 25 years ago: Deere & Co. stockholders received good news of a boost in their quarterly dividends from 20 to 30 cents per share of common stock. The dividend, made to stockholders of record on Dec. 30, will be payable on Feb. 1, 1989.