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 Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2014. There are 71 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The weather is discouraging for our great Democratic rally tomorrow, but never mind that. Let our Rock Island people show they can make a big procession themselves, rain or shine. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Apparatus arrived for drilling an artesian well on the premises of George Warner's Atlantic Brewery. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The German army continued its attacks on the allies line near the Belgian coast. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Zachert northwest of Buffalo Prairie, burned to the ground. 1964 -- 50 years ago: WVIK-FM, noncommercial educational radio station at Augustana College, will return to the air tomorrow. The station operates at a power of 10 watts at 90.9 megacycles on the frequency modulation band. The station is operated with a staff of 92 students. 1989 -- 25 years ago: An avenue of lights, 13 Christmas trees strung with more than 44,000 sparkling lights, will expand the Festival of Trees beyond the walls of RiverCenter in downtown Davenport in mid-November.