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IDOT, State Police encourage drivers to prepare for winter

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police have launched a new campaign to encourage motorists for winter weather.

The agencies also introduced two new snow plows and offered tips for safe winter driving in Illinois during their “Winter Weather, Get It Together” campaign.

The campaign is intended to remind drivers of the emerging snow plows and keep people safe throughout the season.

Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said that while the IDOT professionals are preparing, the public should do the same.

“At IDOT, we spend the entire year getting ready for the 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,” Osman said.

The state also introduced two new snowplows that will be on the streets of Illinois this winter: Scoopy Doo and Orange Crush. The names were picked through a public vote.

Brian Mendenhall, of the Illinois Department of Transportation, said people to be on the lookout for snowplows when driving and give them time and room on the road.

“People need to understand we have a large truck, a lot of blindspots, and can’t always see those drivers,” Mendenhall said. “So if they can give us a room that’s great, but preferably stay home and let us get the roads prepared.”

Some accidents will happen this winter due to harsh conditions and Jody Huffman of the Illinois State Police offered tips for drivers that find themselves in that situation.

“If you end up sliding off the road, do not get out of your vehicle,” Huffman said “Go ahead and call 911 and ask for a troopers help.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation listed tips for safer winter driving on their website at GettingAroundIllinois.com:

  • Wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois. And it’s your 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.

This article was originally posted on IDOT, State Police encourage drivers to prepare for winter