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 cell phones, 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 driving assures maximum vision of your surroundings and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
Be sure that all passengers are securely restrained in safety belts or child safety seats.
Remember to always wear your safety belt and ensure children under the age of 8 are securely restrained in child safety seats. The safest place for infants, toddlers and young children to ride is in the back seat with the appropriate child safety seat for their age and weight.
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 increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected. 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.
The safest choice is to keep back and let the snowplows do their job. During plowing and salt spreading, trucks travel at a speed of approximately 30-35 mph, so traffic delays should be expected. During periods of extremely heavy snow, snowplows trucks 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.
Move over when you see flashing lights ahead.
The Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane for any emergency vehicle with flashing lights. When you see flashing lights ahead, slow down and prepare to move over a lane when safe to do so.
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 – Live roadway images, travel times and real-time roadway incident information
- www.travelmidwest.com – Real-time travel times
- www.nbcchicago.com – Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway
- www.myfoxchicago.com – Latest traffic conditions
- 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 – Daily lane closure and travel information (updated every two hours or as conditions require during winter storms)
- Motorists can call *999 for roadway assistance. Tollway Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) truck or Illinois State Police District 15 personnel will assist you. Dial 911 for emergencies.
- Illinois State Police District 15 patrols the 286-mile Tollway system.
- Travelers who want to take a break from the snowfall and winter weather can stop at any of the Tollway's six oases pavilions, which are open 24 hours a day. A list of oases is available on the Tollway's website at www.illinoistollway.com. Six oases facilities have been designated as Safe Phone Zones, sponsored by Verizon Wireless, as part of a nationwide effort to reduce distracted driving by encouraging drivers to pull into safe, convenient locations to use their cellphones for calling, texting and accessing mobile apps.
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 1,800 plow blades each winter season.
- The Tollway is prepared for this winter season with a supply of more than 84,000 tons of salt, 45,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride and 4,000 tons of roadway abrasives in inventory.
- During the 2014-2015 winter season, the Illinois Tollway used 55,600 tons of salt, 25,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride and 7,300 tons of roadway abrasives. The average salt usage per year over the last four years is 59,000 tons.
- Typical salt applications are 100 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 30 center lane miles. 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 2,133 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 2,133 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 Illinois Tollway reminds you to:
Slow down whether or not workers are present.
Drive the posted speed limit at all times, 24/7, because:
- It's the law
- Work zone traffic lanes are narrower than other lanes
- Traffic patterns shift often
- Pavement may be uneven in sections
Penalties for hitting a worker are severe.
The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone:
- $375 for the first offense
- $1,000 minimum for second offense
- Hitting a worker in a work zone could result in a fine of $10,000 and up to 14 years in jail
Move over for emergency vehicles.
Illinois law requires drivers approaching emergency vehicles stopped along the roadway to:
- Reduce speed
- Change lanes if possible
- Proceed with caution
Watch for signs advising of traffic shifts, roadway incidents and other warnings.
Drop It and Drive.
Using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in Illinois.
One of the most common crashes in a work zone is a rear-end collision. In addition, traffic in work zones makes sudden stops.
Watch for workers.
Keep an eye out for the safety colors of orange and fluorescent lime-green that all workers wear when on the roads.
If you must pull over or are in an accident in the work zone, stay in your vehicle.
Call *999 for non-emergency roadway assistance.
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.