Inside the Tollway

News, stories and insight from inside the Illinois Tollway.

Illinois Tollway Launches New Driver Education Resources on Winter Weather Preparedness

Partnership with Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association Encourages Teens to “Get Winter Ready”


The Illinois Tollway is expanding efforts to equip driver education students and their families with the materials and insight to stay safe on Illinois roadways. 
As new drivers hit the road for their first winter season, the Illinois Tollway is working to prepare them through newly released “Get Winter Ready” high school driver education curriculum as part of its continued partnership with the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association (IHSCDEA). 

“Nearly half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. To combat these alarming figures, the Illinois Tollway is proud to partner with educators across Illinois to promote roadway safety among student drivers, and especially to bring that message to other drivers in their family as well,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “It is especially important this time of year to foster conversations about what it takes to drive safe during winter weather conditions.”
The “Get Winter Ready” curriculum combines the Illinois Tollway’s unique insight and resources to create an educational experience that is geared to improve decisions made by drivers behind the wheel during hazardous winter weather conditions. 

“Our partnership with the Illinois Tollway was created with the shared goal of improving traffic safety and upgrading driver education in Illinois. Through our innovative approach to teaching, these winter weather driving resources represent the next milestone in our efforts to instill safe driving habits in our students from the very start of their driver education,” said IHSCDEA Past President Chris Wingate.

The IHSCDEA, established in 1952, is composed primarily of high school and college driver education instructors, supervisors, coordinators and safety enthusiasts throughout Illinois. Through its partnership with the Illinois Tollway, the IHSCDEA will connect their more than 700 members with educational resources pertaining to winter weather preparedness to share in classrooms across the state.

Along with sharing a behind-the-scenes perspective at how the Illinois Tollway prepares for winter weather, the educational resources promote best winter driving practices, and teaches drivers how to stay safe on the road in hazardous conditions by focusing on these key messages:

Plan Ahead: Check road conditions and use trusted forecasting sources before you leave so you know what route conditions to expect. Charge your phone and let others know of your planned route and arrival time. Know what to do during an emergency and take steps before your trip to maintain your vehicle like topping off fluids, filling up on gas, checking tire pressure and tread, and clearing snow and ice from your vehicle. 

  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Avoid all distractions, especially cell phone use. Don’t use cruise control and minimize lane-changing maneuvers. Slow down to maintain a safe stopping distance. 
  • Stay Clear of a Snowplow’s Path: Conditions in front of a snowplow can be much worse so do not attempt to pass. See and be seen -- snowplow drivers have a reduced field of vision during operations.
  • Give Them Distance: Remember that Scott’s Law applies during winter weather driving conditions. Severe weather often results in more vehicles on the side of the road in need of assistance and more emergency vehicles that are responding to incidents and assisting drivers. 
  • Know When to Stay off the Roads: Avoid driving during severe weather and use your best judgement -- when in doubt, stay home.

As the Illinois Tollway continues to disseminate public safety messages based on timely and relevant topics, the educational partnerships are a key resource for ensuring that the public is aware of driving best practices.

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