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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2014

Winter Storm Nika Blasts Illinois Roadways, Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions
Officials Advise: Stay Home; If Travel Is Unavoidable, Take it Slow and Allow Extra Time

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that snow from Winter Storm Nika already is impacting roads and bridges from Central to Southern Illinois creating slick and dangerous travel conditions for motorists, with additional snow and drifting expected overnight across the state.

The National Weather Service forecasted snow accumulations of 5 to 9 inches throughout Illinois. Snow started to fall in late morning, impacting the southern 40 percent of the state. Forecasters also warn of high winds up to 25 mph overnight in some areas, which will cause whiteout conditions and poor visibility.

IDOT has deployed full crews in impacted areas, and crews are preparing throughout the northern part of the state as well. Approximately 1,755 snow plows and 3,700 employees are available statewide to remove snow and ice from state routes to help ensure the safety of the motoring public.

Due to current weather conditions, IDOT encourages motorists to stay in one place if possible until the storm ends. Motorists who must travel should check road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com before heading out. Currently, all state routes and interstates are open, but travel is slowing due to weather conditions. Kampsville and Brussels Ferries remain closed, due to ice. IDOT will continue to monitor the winter weather statewide and respond accordingly.
 
“IDOT winter crews are deployed in impacted areas to clear roads and bridges throughout Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Roads are slick and dangerous, and motorists are advised to only travel if necessary, take it slow, buckle up and check winter road conditions before heading out.”

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low. During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit
http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepWarm/Pages/warmingcenter.aspx. Those traveling by Amtrak trains are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices.

Safety tips to remember:

• Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.
• Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
• Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas - all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
• Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
• Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary - if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
• 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.
• Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.
• Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).
• Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.
• Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.
 



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