IDOT gives winter driving tips

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Several agencies offered helpful winter driving tips and disclosed some of the new technology they are using. (WLS)

"Winter weather, get it together," is the Illinois Department of Transportation's motto this winter, and drivers got a taste of the season's dangerous conditions Monday morning when black ice caught some off guard.

IDOT representatives warned drivers to expect the unexpected when it comes to winter driving.

"There a learning curve with motorists out there, as soon as there's slush on the ground, ice, snow, people really need to slow down," said Lt. Juan Valenzuela of the Illinois State Police District of Chicago.
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IDOT gives tips for safe driving this winter.


IDOT has hired approximately 600 drivers and acquired 102 new trucks in preparation for the weather. Last year's mild winter means an abundance of salt is left for this year.

"Because of the less snow that we had last year, we have more than enough salt. So between the material, which is the salt, the equipment, which is the plows, and manpower, which is our drivers, we are ready to go right now," said Hiram White, IDOT.

The biggest threat for the snow plow operators are drivers who either drive to close to the truck or actually cut them off.

The Illinois Tollways have added four plows to accommodate the newly-opened Route 390 Eastern extension.

New technology will also help keep the roads clear, with laser sensors that will help guide snow removal.

Drivers should give plows the right of way and understand that the large vehicles cannot move faster than the traffic when snow comes during rush hour.

"Roadway sensors and lasers at about 19 locations spread out throughout our 294-mile system that help us better monitor roadway temperatures and road conditions," said Paul Kovacs, Illinois Tollway.

While we are not expecting any significant snow for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AAA is warning motorists that the absolute worst traffic could actually be on Tuesday.

"Avoid Tuesday night because the rush hour combined with the holiday travelers is really going to make for very packed roads," Mosher said.

Motorists should also keep an emergency kit in their car with jumper cables, a cell phone charger, flares and an ice scraper and brush. Headlights and taillights should be cleared along with windshields to ensure visibility.

IDOT representatives also suggest driving slowly, turning off cruise control, and to consider using public transportation during bad weather. Drivers are also warned to be careful at ice-prone locations like intersections, bridges, ramps, and shaded areas.

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