Sheriff's deputies share what not to do when stuck on the road

CHAMPAIGN—‘Tis the season for slide offs on Central Illinois roadways and authorities want to make sure drivers are prepared.

“Keep your hazards on, keep your windshields clear or windows clear if you can so that you can see other vehicles,” said Captain Shane Cook of the Champaign County Sheriff's Office. “And if you have to actually get out and flag down somebody, stay at a safe distance.”

But they warn not to take it upon yourself to tape up your car if you are stranded.

“The first responders will actually mark the vehicle,” said Cook. “We don't want the vehicle owner to mark it.”

The brightly colored ribbons that are typically tied to stranded vehicles are a sign to emergency responder that a crew looked over the car and the passengers are accounted for. So if you wrap up your car yourself, chances are it won't get checked.

“If we see that at a distance we're not going to approach that vehicle at all,” said Cook.

Champaign County deputies responded to six crashed and 13 stranded drivers between Sunday night and Monday morning, while Illinois State Police were at the scenes of many more accidents along the interstates.

With temperatures on the decline, they expect many more incidents in the coming months and advise drivers to keep their tanks full in case they get stranded in the winter weather.                

“We would like to say that a person is going to be located, I'm going to say in a reasonable amount of time within 30 minutes to an hour,” said Cook. “But in reality depending on the weather and the road conditions it could be a lot longer.”

So the key to staying safe is to be prepared.

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