Extremely cold temperatures have fallen on Illinois and throughout the Midwest thanks to an Arctic blast. A Wind Chill Warning has been in effect since Sunday and it doesn't look like it will warm up anytime soon.

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The dangerously cold temperatures are just part of the weather chaos Illinois and Iowa has had to deal with in the past week. Not one, but two snowstorms dumped several inches of snow across the region. Like Sunday, Monday's high will barely get above 0° in Chicago and in most of the area.

National Weather Service of Chicago
National Weather Service of Chicago

Before you head off to work this morning, you probably plan on warming up your vehicle. If you live in Illinois or on that side of the Quad Cities, warming up your car could get you in big trouble.

Get A Remote Start In Your Vehicle

I still brag about it because I can. The best decision I made when my wife and I moved to the Quad Cities was putting an automatic start in our better vehicle. Since having a child and having one on the way, it's the best thing for everyone when getting out the door in the morning.

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When the weather is really cold like right now or uncomfortably cold,  it's very tempting to go out and start your car with your keys to warm it up if you don't have an automatic start. We understand it's the worst getting into a cold car, but if you live in Illinois and don't have a remote start, warming up your car could get you into some serious trouble. For those on the Iowa side, it could get your car stolen.

If you're already getting into the bad habit of warming up your car in Illinois, we want to remind you it's illegal to warm up your car using your key and leaving it unattended.

Don't Warm Up Your Car In Illinois, It's Illegal

Back in 2017, Illinois lawmakers passed this law making it illegal for people to essentially 'warm up' their carsHow is that so?

According to the Illinois General Assembly:

(625 ILCS 5/11-1401) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1401)
    Sec. 11-1401. Unattended motor vehicles. Except for a law enforcement officer or an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle performing his or her official duties, no person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any perceptible grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. An unattended motor vehicle shall not include an unattended locked motor vehicle with the engine running after being started by a remote starter system.

Basically, you can't warm up your car or let it idle without someone in the driver's seat unless you are a police officer, an authorized emergency vehicle, or have an automatic start system installed in your vehicle.

Before March 16, 2017, Iowa had a similar law but was amended.

Fine For Warming Up Your Car In Illinois

When it comes to getting caught warming up your car in Illinois, there isn't an exact dollar amount for a fine. Some articles we found said upwards of $100, some said $125, and others said $250.

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But the most important reminder for everyone in the Quad Cities is that the ultimate fine anyone could face on either side of the Quad Cities when they leave their car unattended is theft.


In 2020, because of the rising numbers of car thefts throughout the Quad Cities, over 20 law enforcement agencies, including the Illinois State Police, Iowa State Patrol, and the Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and East Moline Police Departments have started the #LockItDownQC campaign.

According to the official Lock It Down QC website,

The mission of Lock It Down QC is to prevent auto theft in the Quad City Area. Lock It Down QC is a cooperative effort of Iowa and Illinois Quad City Area law enforcement agencies.


On the Lock It Down QC website, officials outline three key actions Quad City citizens can take to prevent car theft including:

  1. Never leave your car running, even if you have your fob.
  2. Always lock your car.
  3. Never leave your keys in your car.

You can find more information and tips about #LockItDownQC here.

Trust me, it doesn't take long for a vehicle to be stolen. Two years ago, we wrote a story about how fast someone's car can be stolen out of their garage. Take a look for yourself below.

Essential Winter Emergency Kit Items

Winter season in the Quad Cities means cold temperatures, heavy snow, and slick roads. Hopefully, you won't ever need to tap into your winter emergency kit, but it's better to have one in your car than to be unprepared. Make sure you have these essential items in your car before winter arrives in the Quad Cities.

Gallery Credit: Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities

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