Inside the Tollway
To help young drivers learn to stay safely in their cars if they become stranded on a high speed roadway, the Illinois Tollway and Illinois State Police traveled to the Chicagoland Speedway to demonstrate how much ground a fast-moving vehicle covers and how long it takes to stop.
Video footage shot at the Speedway shows an Illinois State Police SUV approaching at 70 mph—the speed limit on most of the Tollway system—and then abruptly braking, but still traveling for several hundred feet before stopping.
The footage will be used as part of the “Sit Tight, Stay Safe” drivers education curriculum the Tollway developed in partnership with the Illinois State Police and the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association (IHSCDEA). It will be distributed to more than 700 classrooms across the state to educate students that in most roadside emergency situations, the safest action is to stay inside their vehicle and call for help.
“Getting out of your vehicle after a crash or breakdown is dangerous because vehicles approaching at highway speeds cover so much ground so quickly that you have little time to avoid them,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “We’re working with our partners in this program to teach young drivers that the safest place to be on the road until help arrives is inside their vehicle, with their seatbelts and emergency flashers on.“
The “Sit Tight, Stay Safe” curriculum offers student drivers a simple “ABC” message for roadside emergencies: Activate emergency lights and pull to the side of the road, if possible. Buckle up and remain in your vehicle. Call for help—which can be done on the Illinois Tollway by dialing *999 or 911.
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens age 16 to 19, and half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school, according to the National Safety Council.
The “Sit Tight, Stay Safe” education module will provide students with information on the best way to prepare for roadside emergencies, provide directions on what to do in the event of an emergency and information on who to call for help.
By partnering with the IHSCDEA, the Tollway and Illinois State Police can reach a wide audience of young drivers with a vital safety message that will save lives.