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Winter Driving Safety Campaign

Holidays lead to an increase in traffic volume. The ice and snow that accompany winters in Illinois lead to treacherous driving conditions and car accidents. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working with Illinois State Police and Illinois Tollway to put forth a safety campaign to help drivers deal with the dangers of winter driving. The campaign is called "Ice and Snow - Take it Slow." It emphasizes several measures drivers can take to reduce accidents and protect their loved ones during cold weather months.

Many of the recommendations put forth in the campaign are simply about proceeding with caution. Travelling in difficult weather takes more time. It is important that drivers build in extra time to get where they are going or accept the fact that road conditions will make them late. Hurrying is rarely a safe option during good weather. When ice or snow are present, hurrying can be fatal.

In addition to taking one's time, the campaign reminds drivers of the ban on driving while using a hand-held phone that begins this winter. Distracted driving is always unsafe. Winter conditions reduce the time a driver has to overcome the mistakes that are often caused by distractions. The campaign also advises drivers to be aware of the potential for black ice which often forms around intersections, off-ramps, bridges and areas where the road is shaded. Finally, drivers are reminded to keep their gas tanks two-thirds full or more whenever possible. This prevents fuel-line freezing and can help you avoid a harrowing stay on the shoulder while you wait for a tow truck.

The best way to avoid a car accident during winter weather is to stay off the roads. If you can avoid making a trip in bad weather, you should. If you plan ahead and remain cautious and attentive, you greatly increase your chances of avoiding a winter car accident.

Source: St. Charles Patch, "Illinois Officials Launch Winter Driving Safety Campaign," by Ted Schnell, 26 November 2013

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