As frigid weather approaches the Chicago-area, the Illinois Tollway is launching its Zero Weather Road Patrols to help stranded motorists.
According to the agency, the patrols will run around the clock, and will quickly aid stranded customers during the cold snap that is forecasted to remain in place through the weekend.
The patrols are initiated when wind chills are forecasted to drop below zero, and can be summoned by dialing *999, or if the patrols drive by your vehicle on area tollways.
“During this dangerously cold weather, we are taking additional steps to protect our customers by putting extra crews on the road to rapidly locate and assist any drivers stranded along our roadways,” Tollway Executive Director Liz Gorman said. “Safety is our highest priority, and we want to make sure our customers have all the help they need.”
The patrol trucks can accommodate up to five passengers if they need to be transported to a maintenance garage, toll plaza, or an oasis. Cars or trucks with empty fuel tanks, flat tires, dead batteries, or overheated radiators are all eligible for help from the trucks.
For more information, motorists can visit the Tollway’s website, and can also follow these cold-weather tips:
- Be sure your cell phone is fully charged before heading out.
- Be sure tires are properly inflated during cold weather. Tires lose a pound of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up and ensure that you have extra to account for additional driving time if the weather is unfavorable.
- Keep a cold weather safety kit in your car that includes gloves, boots, blankets, road flares, water and a flashlight with fresh batteries.
- Stranded motorists should turn on their emergency lights and remain in their vehicles until help arrives.
- Cell phone users should call *999 motorist assistance for roadway assistance and note the roadway and direction of travel and nearest milepost or crossroad.
Oases can also be used as warming centers, according to the agency.