Winter has arrived, bellowing its presence with a violent storm set to sweep the Chicago area.
In the face of inclement weather, the Illinois State Police stressed that drivers should minimize non-essential travel unless it was “absolutely necessary.”
Forecasters are predicting “white out” conditions, “zero visibility” and near-impossible travel conditions in the days leading up to the Christmas holidays. According to the National Weather Service, cold temperatures can freeze rivers and quickly make road conditions and visibility dangerous.
If you must travel, you should pack an emergency kit before hitting the road, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, AAA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The organization advises drivers to keep the following essentials in their vehicle:
- jumper cable
- flare or reflector
- Flashlight with new batteries
- windshield washer fluid
- ice scraper, snow brush, shovel
- Traction material
- A bag of abrasive materials such as sand, salt, or cat litter
- compass and map
- mobile phones, portable chargers
- Thermal items such as blankets, gloves, hats, and boots
- non-perishable food
- first aid kit
Drivers are also advised to check road conditions before heading out. Toll roads offer additional tips, advising drivers to ensure that all vehicle tires are properly inflated and that gas tanks are at least half full to avoid freezing gas lines. did.
In the conditions ahead, “getting stuck can be fatal,” said the National Weather Service.
If you are stranded and have a life-threatening emergency, you should call 911, IDOT said. However, another number you can call for help is *999. According to IDOT, that number will lead the caller to a call center where the Emergency Traffic Patrol or “Minute Men” can be dispatched.
And while lifelong Chicagoans have an affinity for snow and ice, it’s all about reminders, IDOT says.
“If you’re traveling by road and it’s snowing, make sure you have extra space,” IDOT said. It’s about being able to stop it rather than driving it.Even with a little snow on the ground it’s going to be difficult because of the wind…”