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If You Have to Drive, Drive Safe: Snow Travel Tips from the Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway offers helpful tips on how to travel in the coming snow.

the Illinois Tollway is putting its full fleet of 183 snowplows into action, a press release stated. All temporary lane closures have been canceled from 7 a.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday to help with snow removal efforts, the release added.

Before you travel, check Oak Forest Patch's Traffic and Gas Guide, which provides up-to-the-minute gas and travel information, complete with current construction projects and street closures. Commuters also can call the Tollway's customer line for road updates at 800-865-5394. Call *999 on your cell phone if you need roadway assistance. 

For updates of any possible delays, closings or cancellations, keep visiting the Oak Forest Patch home page throughout the day. Have any tips? Post any information you'd like to share about dangerous road conditions or accidents in the area on our Facebook page, email editor Lauren Traut at lauren.traut@patch.com, or leave a comment below.

Above all, remember to stay safe and stay warm out there. The following are some helpful snow travel tips provided by the Tollway:

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights before you drive. Clearing all snow before you begin driving assures maximum vision of your surroundings and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
  • Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic. Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected.
  • Reduce speed on ramps and in cash lanes at toll plazas. Watch for lane designations on approach to the toll plaza; switching lanes close to the toll plaza is unsafe, especially during winter weather.
  • Increase the interval between your vehicle and the one in front of you. By creating more distance between your vehicle and others, you decrease your chances of a collision because stopping distances increase as pavement conditions deteriorate.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes. During heavy snowstorms, slush and packed snow build up in the area between traffic lanes. Abrupt or frequent lane changes may cause your vehicle to slide on the buildup and spin out of control.
  • Keep away from snowplows. Should you encounter snowplows, the safest choice is to keep back and let them do their job. They travel at a speed of approximately 30 mph, so traffic delays should be expected. During periods of extremely heavy snow, Illinois Tollway snowplows will work in tandem to remove as much ice, slush and snow as possible from all lanes at once.
  • Do not use the shoulder of the road to pass a snowplow. Some snowplows are equipped with wing plows that extend to the left or right of the vehicle. While these wings allow for more efficient removal of snow, they are nearly invisible to passing motorists because of blowing snow. De-icing materials spread from the rear of the truck may also be a distraction to motorists attempting to pass.

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