Illinois updates online weather-related road map, encourages driving with care as winter approaches

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Information provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (November 18, 2021) – With winter bearing down and snow starting to appear in the forecast, the Illinois Department of Transportation is debuting an improved winter road conditions map on its Getting Around Illinois website. The department is also urging drivers to take caution while driving in winter conditions.

Illinois weather map

Instead of continuing to display conditions by county, the revamped map will show how weather events are impacting roads under the jurisdictions of the more than 120 snow-and-ice team sections that work out of IDOT facilities throughout the state. Additionally, conditions on interstates and U.S. routes, which carry the most traffic in Illinois, will be given priority reporting status and appear more boldly on the map.

A short video on how to utilize the map and review conditions can be viewed here.

Conditions are recorded by plow drivers out in the field and relayed through a cloud-based system. The website includes the ability to identify and zoom in to a location, travel route or destination as well as look up information on current construction projects and others identified for improvement in IDOT’s multiyear program.

Safe driving tips this winter

“At IDOT, we spend the entire year getting ready for snow-and-ice season. Our top priority is making sure our roads are safe for the motoring public, but we do ask the motoring public to do its part as well and get prepared,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Make sure your vehicle is in a safe, operating condition. Winter weather can change quickly so be prepared to reduce speeds and increase driving distances at all times. And please share the roads with our snow-and-ice teams — don’t crowd the plow.”

Throughout the coming months of cold weather and adverse conditions, motorists should practice basic winter driving skills and build extra time into their schedules. Travelers are encouraged to follow these simple guidelines:

  • Bookmark GettingAroundIllinois.com to check travel conditions 24/7.
  • Wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois. And it’s the best defense in a crash.
  • Drop it and drive. Put down the mobile devices — it, too, is the law.
  • Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to drive, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your route. Familiarize yourself with public transportation options.
  • Slow down. Slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering, and slower braking are required throughout the winter.
  • Don’t crowd the plow. A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see
    them, but they may not see you. Any plow that’s hit is one less resource available to clear the roads.
  • Watch out for black ice. A road may appear clear but can be treacherous.
  • Be especially careful when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shaded areas. All are prone to icing.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable
    food, and a first-aid kit.
  • Carry a cell phone and a car charger in case of emergency.
  • Give them distance. Obey the Move Over Law by slowing down and changing lanes when approaching ANY stopped vehicle with flashing lights.

For the upcoming winter, IDOT will have almost 1,800 trucks available for deployment to plow nearly 16,000 miles of roads statewide, the equivalent of driving from New York to Los Angeles and back almost three times. Last year, IDOT spread more than 522,000 tons of salt statewide. This winter, salt domes throughout the state are close to capacity, with more than 445,000 tons on hand, almost twice the weight of the Willis Tower.

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