Illinois State Police officials have issued a snow and freezing rain travel advisory for the area as a winter storm moves into the region this weekend.
A winter storm watch was expected to go into effect late Thursday night and last until 6 p.m. Saturday due to freezing rain that the National Weather Service said was likely to hit the St. Louis area.
Motorists should plan ahead, give themselves extra time and take necessary precautions while traveling, police said. Drifting snow, wet and icy road conditions, and freezing cold temperatures may disrupt travel. Police said drivers should slow down, allow plenty of distance from other vehicles, ensure lights are working, watch for snow removal equipment and exit the road to a safe location if driving conditions become too hazardous.
If a crash occurs during extreme weather conditions, State Police encourage motorists to exchange insurance and driver information and clear the road, unless medical attention is required, according to ISP District 11’s interim commander, Lt. Timothy Tyler. Motorists can file crash reports at the nearest State Police district within 10 days.
Illinois State Police handled more than 1,200 calls for service and motorist assists during the last three-day storm in 2014 in Illinois.
Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. said commuters should know that state police can still issue a citation for driving too fast in bad weather. He emphasized that drivers should prepare for hazardous road conditions that are expected to come with the weather this weekend.
“Snow, ice or wet roadways are not a legitimate excuse to have a crash or slide off into a ditch. We can still write you a ticket for driving too fast for the road conditions,” Dye said. “With the bad weather predicted to hit in the next few days, slow down and don’t travel unless you have to.”
Dye said Illinois State Police is prepared to have extra officers working the roadways in response to the icy forecast.
Road condition information is available from the Illinois Department of Transportation by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or visiting www.gettingaroundillinois.com.
Winter weather safety tips to consider:
- Anticipate reduced visibility and watch for black ice when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and curves.
- Avoid abrupt steering and braking and avoid tailgating by keeping a safe distance between vehicles.
- Allow enough time for travel and advise others of travel itineraries.
- Avoid unnecessary and sudden lane changes.
- Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
- Always wear a safety belt and keep a charged cell phone handy.