Essentials to keep in your car during a winter storm – NBC Chicago

Winter has arrived and it’s screaming its presence with a severe storm that is expected to sweep through the Chicago area.

In the face of inclement weather, Illinois State Police have stressed that drivers should minimize non-essential travel unless it is “absolutely necessary”.

Forecasters are predicting ‘whiteout’ conditions, ‘zero visibility’ and nearly impossible travel conditions in the days leading up to the Christmas holidays. Cold temperatures could cause rivers to form ice, with road conditions and visibility quickly becoming dangerous, according to the National Weather Service.

If you must travel, you should prepare an emergency kit before hitting the road, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, AAA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The organizations advise drivers to keep the following essentials in their car:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflectors
  • Flashlight with new batteries
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Ice scraper, snow brush and shovel
  • Pulling material
  • Bag of abrasive material, such as sand, salt, or kitty litter
  • Compass and maps
  • Mobile phone, with a portable charger
  • Items to keep warm including blankets, gloves, hats, boots and more
  • Non-perishable food
  • Water
  • First aid kit

Drivers are also encouraged to check road conditions before setting off. The toll offered additional guidance, advising drivers to ensure that all of the vehicle’s tires are properly inflated and that their gas tank is at least half full to prevent the gas line from freezing.

In the conditions ahead, “getting stranded can be deadly,” the National Weather Service said.

If you’re stranded and experiencing a life-threatening emergency, 911 is the number to call, IDOT said. However, another number you can call for assistance is *999. According to IDOT, this number will take callers to a call center where Emergency Traffic Patrol or “Minute Men” can be dispatched.

And while Chicagoans are intimately familiar with snow and ice, it’s all about the reminders, says IDOT.

“If you’re traveling on the road and it’s snowing, give yourself more space,” IDOT said. “Go slower than you think. It’s not so much about driving in the snow, it’s more about being able to stop it. Even with a small amount of snow on the ground, it will be a challenge because the wind .”

NBC Chicago

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