Illinois Tollway Deploys Hot Weather Patrols to Assist Customers During Dangerous Heat Wave
Additional 24-hour road patrols bolster H.E.L.P. trucks and State Police Troop 15
The Illinois Tollway is launching around-the-clock Hot Weather Patrols to more quickly locate and assist customers stranded along its roads during the dangerously high temperatures and humidity expected to continue through Thursday.
The Illinois Tollway typically operates special Hot Weather Patrols whenever temperatures or heat indexes indicate conditions could be hazardous for stranded drivers. The 24-hour patrols search for drivers stranded in disabled vehicles and respond to calls that come in to *999 motorist assistance, Illinois Tollway dispatch or Illinois State Police Troop 15.
“To better protect our customers during the dangerously hot conditions expected this week, we’re adding these additional patrols to ensure we’re able to rapidly find and aid any drivers who are stranded along our roads or need other assistance,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse. “Launching Hot Weather Patrols is part of our commitment to safety and provides another layer of protection so drivers whose cars have become disabled can quickly get out of the heat and obtain the assistance they need to reach their destinations.”
While the Illinois Tollway’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) trucks sponsored by Geico run from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, a minimum of 12 Hot Weather Patrols are providing additional coverage around the clock through Thursday to augment H.E.L.P. trucks and Illinois State Police patrols.
The Hot Weather Patrols consist of crew cab trucks equipped with arrow boards for directing traffic around stranded vehicles and can accommodate passengers if motorists need to get out of the heat or be transported to a Tollway maintenance garage or Tollway oasis while service is obtained.
The Hot Weather Patrols typically assist drivers whose cars or trucks have been disabled by empty fuel tanks, flat tires, batteries needing a boost, or overheated radiators.
Summer Travel Tips
The Tollway offers the following travel tips to keep safe during summer weather:
- Cell phone users should call *999 motorist assistance for roadway assistance and note the roadway and direction of travel and nearest milepost or crossroad.
- Stranded motorists should turn on their emergency lights and remain with their vehicles until help arrives.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout, especially when road temperatures are extremely high.
- Make sure fluids are at appropriate levels. Most engine fluids lubricate and serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components. Low fluid levels reduce the cooling effect and increase the possibility of overheating.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools and a first aid kit.
- Drop It and Drive. Using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in Illinois.
- Give Them Distance. Drivers are required to slow down and move over when approaching any stopped vehicle that has its hazard lights activated.
The Illinois Tollway also reminds customers that oases located along the Tollway system provide drivers an opportunity to check their vehicles or simply take a break. The oases provide a variety of food, beverage and retail offerings, as well as 7-Eleven stores and fuel stations. On the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), there are two oases with over-the-road pavilions at Lake Forest and the Chicago Southland Lincoln in South Holland and 7-Eleven stores and fuel stations at Hinsdale and O’Hare. There are also oases with pavilions on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb and on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Belvidere.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 294 miles of roadways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.