The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has offered several tips to help keep families safe over the holiday season, hopefully reducing the number of Illinois car accidents this season. IDOT first recommends to make your vehicle winter ready by assuring that you regularly check all car equipment and make sure everything is running smoothly because the Illinois winter weather can be very tough on vehicles. Next, it is important to have an emergency survival kit in your car, in the event of a car accident or other car trouble. This kit should include items such as an ice scraper and other items to clean an icy windshield, jumper cables, antifreeze, shovels, tire chains, salt and other basic tools that could come in handy in an emergency. In the event that you get stuck in your vehicle it is important to have blankets, extra coats, gloves, hats, food, candles, fire extinguisher, flashlights and flares. Also remember to always have a cell phone, preferably with a backup battery source on you at all times when traveling in a car. Whenever you are planning a trip somewhere in horrible weather, make sure you are only driving in these terrible conditions at times when it is absolutely necessary, because so many car accidents happen at times when people should not even be driving in such dangerous conditions. If you must travel check the weather conditions along the route prior to departure to give you a better idea of what to expect. Current road conditions can be found at www.dot.il.gov and Interstate rest areas are equipped with monitors that display this current road condition information as well. Also make sure to always let others know where and when you are leaving and make sure to let them know when you safely arrive. If you are planning to travel to an unfamiliar area try to travel in daylight areas and bring detailed maps along with you. Also, as in any driving situation, make sure you have proper personal identification, car registration and insurance and a full gas tank. When you are on the road make sure to always have your seat belt fastened and drive cautiously, always willing to seek refuge if weather conditions become too severe to continue driving. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you do become stranded make sure to pull off as far of the road as possible to try to avoid a car accident and do not panic! Use your best judgment to determine if you should leave your vehicle to try to seek help (be aware of the temperature outside) and if you decide to stay in your vehicle and wait for help make sure to stay moving when possible to increase body heat. Please follow these tips to avoid car accidents and have a safe holiday season! For more IDOT tips, please click on this hyperlink.