While the Quad Cities saw a few flakes of snow yesterday, areas to the south got actual accumulation. Vandalia reportedly got five inches and Effingham picked up nearly three inches. That means it’s time to break out the snow brushes and try to remember those winter driving skills.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s “Winter Weather Get It Together” website has several tips to help drivers navigate the streets safely during winter weather.

  • Wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois and a good way to stay safe in an accident.
  • Slow down. Slower speeds, acceleration, steering and braking are necessary during winter driving conditions.
  • Drop it and drive. Using a handheld device while driving is against the law in Illinois.
  • Don’t crowd the plow. A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
  • Don’t use cruise control in snowy and icy conditions.
  • Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous.
  • Be especially careful when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All these areas are prone to icing.
  • Stay home during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to go somewhere, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route. Consider taking public transportation if it is an option.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first-aid kit.
  • Carry a cell phone and a car charger in case of emergency.
  • Follow Scott’s Law. Slow down and move over for stopped emergency, construction and maintenance vehicles.

Drivers should also check Getting Around Illinois for the latest road conditions and closures before they leave.

The IDOT will have over 1,700 snowplows ready to keep almost 16,000 miles of Illinois roads clear. Last year the IDOT spread almost 305,000 tons of salt statewide.