Drivers Warned Of Chicagoland’s First Snowstorm Of Season

A snow plow waits next to Wrigley Field for snow to start

Get ready drivers, the Chicago area is bracing for it’s first snowstorm of the season.

Snow is expected to begin hitting roadways during the evening rush hour Thursday.

Local and state agencies are ramping up emergency weather operations and preparing snow removal crews to keep streets and highways clear.

The National Weather Service is predicting significant snowfall for the entire region, with several inches of snow predicted for Chicago but with larger snowfall of four to eight inches north of I-80.

Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says IDOT’s 550 snow plows are ready for action, but is asking drivers to slow down and drive more carefully during the storm.

“IDOT is preparing for severe winter weather conditions across the northern part of the state, and motorists should think twice before venturing onto roadways,” said Schneider. “IDOT winter crews will be working to clear state roadways as needed, but we also ask motorists to take the necessary steps to help ensure their personal safety as well. Anyone driving in these kinds of conditions should be sure to buckle up, slow down and allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination. And please don’t crowd the snow plows.”

Illinois Tollway Authority plans to activate it’s Snow Operations Center for the storm and has all 182 of its snow plows on call to begin snow removal as soon as the first flakes fall. To help with snow removal efforts, the Tollway has cancelled all temporary lane closures for the duration of the storm.

“We are ready to put our plans into action as soon as the snowfall begins, but we ask that our customers slow down and allow plenty of extra time,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “We urge our customers to stay off the roads during heavy snowstorms if possible, but if they must drive, drivers should stay alert and focus all of their attention on the road and remember that it is always illegal to text and drive in Illinois.”

IDOT and the Illinois Tollway have a few reminders to area drivers who have not seen snow on the road since last winter.

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights on your vehicle before you hit the road.

Make sure you can see and other drivers can see you by keeping your windshield, windows, mirrors and lights as clean from snow as possible.

  • Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic around you.

In other words, drive more carefully and safely during challenging weather.

  • Increase the interval between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Give yourself more time to respond to other vehicles and stop in time if necessary. Snow and ice on the road diminish your vehicle’s ability to stop quickly.

  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes.

Changing lanes abruptly could cause your vehicle to spin out.

  • Stay away from snowplows.

Snowplows travel at approximately 30 mph, so expect travel delays when plow trucks are on the road. Keep back and let them do their job.

  • Stay in your car if you’re stranded.

Pullover to the shoulder and then call *999 from your cell phone if your car breaks down. Stay with your vehicle, IDOT Minutemen will respond as quickly as possible.

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