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, April 20, the 110th day of 2014. There are 255 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The attention of contractors is called to proposals for building a magazine. The building is to be erected on the south side of the island, above the railroad, nearly opposite Sinnit's ice houses. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Ladies patent leather tip shoes were selling for $3 at the M & K store, and men's spring overcoats were advertised at $7.50. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Fred Feuchter, of Davenport, was elected president of the Tri-City Post Office Clerks club, and Joe Goldsmith, of Rock Island, was named secretary treasurer. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mass vaccination of more than 1,600 employed of the Rock Island Arsenal has been ordered by Col. Norman Ramsey after a 13-year-old daughter of the Arsenal manager became ill with smallpox. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The 1964 Scout-O-Rama of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts closed a two-day session last evening at the Rock Island Armory with 5,000 paid attendance. 1989 -- 25 years ago: "From the horse and buggy days ... to this" said Mercer County Sheriff Marvin Thirtyacre, waving his hand to indicate the sheriff's department facilities at the new $1.5 million Mercer County Jail in Aledo.