Illinois State Police District 10 officials are reminding motorists to take precautions as they travel. District 10 covers Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby and Vermilion Counties.
Illinois State Police Troopers are monitoring the incoming winter storm as it moves into the area. As of 12:00 pm, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch which is in effect from Wednesday morning until early Thursday morning. Snow is expected to develop late Tuesday night and continue until late Wednesday night. A period of heavy wet snow is expected Wednesday with accumulation ranging between 1 to 6 inches, with locally higher amounts of 6-8 inches along I-57 (Mattoon to Rantoul) and I-74 (Champaign to Danville). The heaviest snow is expected in Champaign, Douglas, Coles, Edgar and Vermilion Counties.
Strong northerly winds will increase and gust between 30 and 40 miles per hour. The combination of snow and winds will decrease visibility to near zero and may cause white out conditions making travel dangerous during the height of the storm. These high winds will cause some blowing and drifting snow to develop by Wednesday night as temperatures slip to near or below the freezing mark.
Winter weather can have a devastating impact on driving conditions, especially when ice and snow are involved. Freezing rain, icy roads, and white-out snow events can result in hazardous road conditions for drivers of all ages. Illinois State Police officials urge motorists to drive with caution, and to allow extra travel time to get to their final destinations.
Stranded motorists are encouraged to remain inside their vehicles and wait for first responders to arrive. Motorists involved in accidents that do not require emergency assistance may file a crash report within 10 days at the nearest police station.
Illinois State Police also want to remind motorists to yield to emergency and snow removal equipment. Scott’s Law (Move Over Law) requires drivers to reduce speed, change lanes if possible, and proceed with due caution when approaching emergency vehicles.
Listed below are a few safety tips drivers should keep in mind during winter weather:
• Plan ahead and check the forecast – Determine if the trip is necessary during inclement weather.
• Don’t Crowd the Plow! – remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
• Watch out for black ice – roads that appear clear may be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas – all are prone to black ice.
• Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
• Dress warmly for the weather—dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
• Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
• Always carry an emergency car care 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.
• Always carry a charged cell phone.
• Always wear a safety belt.
Motorists can check on interstate road conditions by contacting IDOT at 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or on the Internet at: www.gettingaroundillinois.com.