New distracted driving laws prohibit the use of all hand-held electronic devices while driving on all public roads in Illinois all the time. The use of cellphones, as well as electronic communications devices or any other electronic device, to text, email, compose, read or send electronic messages or access the Internet while driving a motor vehicle at any time is also prohibited.
We need your help to stop traffic deaths in Illinois.
Tips for safer driving
- Don't text and drive
- Save a life - buckle up
- Turn off your cellphone while driving
- Don't drink and drive
While the Illinois Tollway is doing its part to keep the roads clear and traffic moving, drivers need to do their part, as well. The Tollway offers the following winter driving tips:
Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights on your vehicle before you drive.
Blowing snow can significantly diminish visibility. Clearing all windows BEFORE you start driving assures maximum vision and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
Avoid distracted driving.
Distracted driving laws prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones, as well as electronic devices to text, email or access internet sites while driving at any time. Drivers should avoid any distractions that will take their eyes off of the road, particularly during inclement weather.
Stay alert. Stay alive.
Recognize the signs of fatigue and know when to stop and rest to avoid tired, reckless driving.
Reduce speed in cash lanes at toll plazas.
Drivers paying cash at toll plazas should adjust their speed on approach during snow and ice storms. Watch for lane designations on approach to the toll plaza; switching lanes close to the toll plaza is unsafe, especially during winter weather.
Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic around you.
Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected.
Increase the interval between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Creating more distance between your vehicle and others decreases chances of a collision because stopping distances increase as pavement conditions deteriorate.
Avoid unnecessary lane changes.
During heavy snowstorms, slush and snow builds up in the area between traffic lanes. Abrupt or frequent lane changes may cause your vehicle to slide 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. During plowing and salt spreading, trucks travel at a speed of approximately 30 mph, so traffic delays should be expected. During periods of extremely heavy snow, Illinois Tollway snowplow trucks will work in tandem to remove as much ice, slush and snow as possible from all lanes in one pass.
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 truck. While these wings allow for more efficient removal of snow, they are nearly invisible to passing motorists due to blowing snow. De-icing materials spread from the rear of the truck may also be a distraction to motorists attempting to pass.
Call *999 for roadway assistance.
Should you encounter car trouble and require roadway assistance, try to move your car to a safe position on the shoulder or in an untraveled area. Report stranded vehicles by dialing *999 from a cellular phone. Drivers should note the roadway and direction of travel and nearest milepost or crossroad.
Stay in your vehicle, H.E.L.P. is on the way.
During continued periods of extremely cold weather, the Illinois Tollway operates a "Zero Patrol" to supplement the Illinois State Police District 15 and the Tollway's Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) trucks sponsored by State Farm. Stay in your vehicle – it's the safest place to be if you are stranded.
Know Before You Go
The Tollway offers a variety of ways for drivers to get the latest information on travel and roadway construction to help you plan your trip, including:
- www.illinoistollway.com – View Traffic Cameras offers "bird's eye" views from 21 different locations along the Tollway system and Tollway Trip Calculator
- www.travelmidwest.com – Real-time travel times
- www.twitter.com – Real-time roadway incident information at Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 88, Tollway Trip 355 and Tollway Trip 94/294
- 1-800-TOLL-FYI – Customers can call to get recorded information that is updated every two hours or as conditions require during winter storms.
- Motorists can call *999 for roadway assistance.
- Illinois State Police District 15 patrols the 286-mile Tollway system.
- Tollway oases are a great place to rest, refuel and take a break from winter travel, with a variety of food and beverage offerings and fuel stations.
- On the road and need to update your I-PASS account or add funds to your balance? Stop into one of our five Tollway Customer Service Centers.
The Illinois Tollway strives to provide customers with the highest possible level of service during winter operations. Every effort is made to act quickly with snow and ice control measures that ensure the free flow of people, goods and services regardless of winter weather conditions.
- The Illinois Tollway uses 185 snowplow trucks to clear its roadways of snow and ice.
- The Illinois Tollway uses about 1,500 plow blades each winter season.
- The Tollway is prepared for this winter season with a supply of more than 83,500 tons of salt, 54,500 gallons of liquid calcium chloride and 2,000 tons of roadway abrasives in inventory.
- During the 2013-2014 winter season, the Illinois Tollway used 86,079 tons of salt, 65,868 gallons of liquid calcium chloride and 19,580 tons of roadway abrasives. The average salt usage per year over the last four years is 64,518 tons.
- Typical salt applications are 200 lbs. per lane mile during small storms and up to 500 lbs. per lane mile during heavier snowstorms or extreme icing conditions. Onboard computer controls monitor salt usage based on the speed of the truck and pre-calibrated settings.
- The Illinois Tollway has 11 maintenance facilities, each responsible for 25-30 center lane miles and with 25-59 full-time personnel. Seven maintenance facilities are located in the Chicago metropolitan area, one in Rockford and three in rural areas.
- During a full call-out, there are 185 equipment operators, 11 mechanics, 11 clerical staff and 11 supervisors required for each of two 12-hour shifts to provide for 24-hour coverage. The Illinois Tollway's Snow Operations Center is staffed with traffic center technicians and snow and ice control managers during winter weather events.
- It takes snow crews 2,137 lane miles to de-ice and plow one pass of the Illinois Tollway system during a snow and ice storm – the equivalent of driving from Chicago to Los Angeles.
- In a typical 12-hour shift, snow crews can make up to eight complete passes of the 2,137 lane mile system for a total coverage of more than 17,000 miles. In a 24-hour storm operation, this would equate to more than 34,000 miles of coverage – the equivalent of driving coast to coast across the United States 10 times.
The new Illinois Tollway guide provides a quick reference to local hotels and tourism attractions located near each of the Tollway's interchanges.
Attractions and facilities have been identified in coordination with the Illinois Office of Tourism and local convention and visitors bureaus. For additional Illinois tourism information, visit www.enjoyillinois.com.
Illinois Travel Guide
The Illinois Travel Guide provides you with all the tools to have a memorable experience in Illinois. Whether you prefer the bustling culture of the big city, the hospitality of small towns or the serene beauty of natural wonders, Illinois is sure to please.