SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (January 30, 2021) – The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are warning the public that travel will be impacted throughout the weekend by a winter storm stretching across the northern part of the state. Starting this afternoon and into Sunday, heavy snow should be anticipated, creating slick roads, reduced visibility and travel times that will be much longer than normal.
“Our snow-and-ice teams will be ready and out in force, but with this latest round of winter weather happening over the weekend, the choice of staying indoors should be strongly considered,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “If driving is necessary, know that conditions at times could be treacherous. Buckle up. Slow down. Put down the phone. Give our plows room to work. And build plenty of additional time into your schedule.”
The National Weather Service has issued a storm warning, predicting heavy snow to begin falling late Saturday afternoon, accompanied by strong winds in the evening and continuing into Sunday across the northern half of Illinois. Between 4 to 9 inches are expected in northeastern Illinois, with the highest amounts in the Chicago area.
In an alert on Saturday afternoon, Cook County said up to 9 inches of snow was expected starting on Saturday afternoon and driving conditions would likely be dangerous.
“If you must travel during snowy or icy weather, please remember to manually turn on your headlights, pay attention and increase following distance when driving,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Most importantly, remember to slow down and move over for all emergency vehicles and tow trucks with their emergency lights activated on the side of the road. This also includes motorists with their hazard lights activated.”
Other tips if you must travel:
- Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shaded areas that are prone to icing.
- Make sure your gas tank is full.
- Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle.
- Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your route and schedule.
- Carry a cellphone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for assistance in case of emergency.
- Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency situation.
- If you are involved in a crash, remain inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle into live traffic can have fatal consequences.
- Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.