Illinois Residents Should Prepare For Heavy Snow This Winter

Matt Lillywhite

If you enjoy going outside in cold weather, I have excellent news: Illinois is expected to receive a significant amount of snow this winter. As you can see from the map below, many states in the midwest are forecasted to receive much more precipitation (rain and snow) in winter than normal:

According to a study published by the University of Illinois Chicago, cold weather is responsible for over 95 percent of temperature-related deaths in the state. Therefore, knowing how to stay safe while at home or on the roads is critical during the winter months.

One of the best ways to prepare for winter is by adjusting your driving habits. Every year, thousands of motor vehicle accidents occur in Illinois as a result of snowy or ice-covered roadways, as well as limited visibility due to fog or blowing snow. Many collisions can be prevented by driving slowly on city streets, country roads, and highways. According to recent traffic studies, modest accumulations of snow or ice on roads can be just as deadly for motorists as massive snowstorms, per data published by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

To reduce the risk of crashing while driving in hazardous conditions, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency recommends buckling your seatbelt, keeping your windows clear of snow and ice, and adjusting your speed for dangerous weather conditions. In addition, you might want to consider the following precautions while driving in Illinois:

  • Brake gently whenever roads are covered in snow and ice. Also, it's a good idea to begin braking early whenever you come to an intersection.
  • Only use a cell phone if you are safely parked on the side of the road or in a parking lot. Never talk on a cell phone while driving as that's dangerous in winter conditions.
  • Ease off the gas pedal or brakes whenever your car starts to slide. According to to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, you should steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction, and then straighten your vehicle.
  • Contact a towing company if your car becomes stuck. However, you should be prepared to wait in the cold weather for several hours. Therefore, it's important to store an emergency kit in your car that contains food, water, blankets, and other essential items.

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