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Winter Weather Brings Challenging Driving Conditions

Illinois State Police have issued driving safety tips and the yearly reminder that winter weather means dangerous driving conditions for Illinois motorists. Ice, snow, sleet and high winds can all lead to deadly car accidents, particularly early in the season when drivers have not yet become accustomed to dealing with winter weather. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend included 839 car crash injuries in 2011, including 8 fatal incidents. Holidays may add to the danger because families feel pressure to drive in conditions that might normally cause them to stay home. In addition, the days off of school lead to an increase in young, inexperienced drivers taking to the roads.

Among the safety tips provided by the police are to plan ahead and keep an eye on the forecast before deciding to take a trip. In addition, Illinois State Police provided the following tips:

  • Give snowplows a wide berth
  • Be aware of black ice, particularly at intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas
  • Keep lots of gas in your tank to avoid fuel line freezing
  • Dress appropriately in case a winter weather emergency strikes
  • Always inform someone of your travel route
  • Keep jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper, traction material (kitty litter or other), blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit in your vehicle at all times
  • Carry a cell phone

With proper care and planning, winter weather can be safely managed by motorists. By remaining patient and employing defensive driving, you increase your chances of having a safe driving season this winter.

Source: WPSD Local, "Illinois State Police encourages highway safety in winter weather," by Ryan Burkett, 16 November 2012

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