The Illinois Department of Transportation is declaring itself ready for winter. IDOT has 200,000 tons of salt, 3,600 employees and 1,700 trucks available for snow removal, and IDOT engineer John Fortmann wants drivers to be careful around those plows.

“When you’re out there, please remember: Don’t crowd the snow plow. A snow plow operator’s field of vision is limited. They’re driving a big piece of equipment and they can’t see all around it, so be careful there,” he said.

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IDOT and State Police want drivers to leave more stopping distance, to accelerate, brake and steer gently in snow, and to expect ice of bridges, exit ramps and shady areas.

Snow removal last winter cost the state $37 million. Salt consumption was 236,600 tons, down from 562,400 tons in winter 2010-11, and 536,900 tons in winter 2009-10.

IDOT plows snow on 43,503 lane-miles of road, much of it Interstate highways.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/