The Illinois winters can be brutal impacting both visibility and the ability to stay on the road in whiteout conditions. Black ice, snowdrifts and blinding winds can impair the driver’s ability to steer their vehicle. Practicing safe driving tips suitable for the snow and ice can help prevent a catastrophic accident as the winter storms roll through. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants drivers to service their vehicles before hitting the road. Have routine maintenance or a tune-up done before the first snowflakes fall. Understanding how the vehicle drives are crucial when driving in bad weather such as snow or ice. 

Take the time to practice driving in a safe area away from other vehicles to prepare to drive on the main roads. Working lights ensure other vehicles can see you whether the vehicle is moving forward, reversing or stopping. Properly inflated tires should be able to handle the change in season and may need snow chains to safely grip the road. 

AAA recommends avoiding driving altogether in snowy conditions if possible. Take extra precautions when stopping, accelerating or decelerating to avoid skidding. Ice makes slowing down take longer than normal roadway conditions. Without enough inertia to drive up, hills can be particularly dangerous when the vehicle slides back potentially into oncoming vehicles. 

The possibility of being stuck on the side of the highway during a blizzard is a real possibility for many drivers. To stay safe, keep an emergency cold-weather bag in the vehicle packed with blankets, water, food, a glass scraper, a flashlight and warm clothes. Never leave home without informing someone of the driving plan.