The Illinois Tollway is operating around-the-clock Hot Weather Patrols to more quickly assist customers stranded along its roads during the dangerously high temperatures and humidity expected to continue into the weekend.
The Tollway typically operates Hot Weather Patrols to provide additional aid to customers 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 District 15.
While the Illinois Tollway’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) trucks sponsored by State Farm 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 into the weekend 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 accommodate up to five 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.
Cars or trucks with empty fuel tanks, flat tires, batteries needing a boost, or overheated radiators are just some of the most frequent problems reported among drivers needing help.
Drivers who need roadway assistance should call *999 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.
Customers also may use the oases located along the Tollway system as cooling centers and also 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 three oases: Lake Forest, Hinsdale and Chicago Southland Lincoln in South Holland. There is an oasis on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb and on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Belvidere, as well as 7-Eleven stores and fuel stations at the O’Hare Oasis, also on I-294.
To protect themselves and other customers, Tollway workers and emergency responders, the Tollway reminds drivers to:
- 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.