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 Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park. 1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.