Illinois accident highlights adverse weather risks for drivers

The small community of Fisher, Illinois was recently rocked when a local school bus was involved in an accident while transporting students to school. The News-Gazette reports that the bus was accelerating out of a four-way stop and heading east on U.S. 136 when it was hit near its driver’s side rear wheels by a southbound sedan. Four students and the bus driver were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. The 56-year-old driver of the sedan skid through the intersection when he caused the crash, and law enforcement officers cited him for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. A dense fog advisory was also in effect at the time of the crash, and officials believe it was a major contributing factor in the accident.


Adverse weather conditions cause accidents


According to the Federal Highway Administration, the weather is a major causal factor in thousands of automotive accidents every year. Out of an average of 5,870,000 car accidents that occur annually, 23 percent, or almost 1,312,000 crashes, are weather-related. According to the FHWA, any collision that occurs in adverse weather is a weather-related accident. Adverse weather includes the following conditions:


  • Rain, sleet or snow
  • Fog
  • Severe crosswinds
  • Blowing sand or debris
  • Icy pavement


Although crashes similar to the one that occurred in Fisher only account for 1 percent of the total crashes that occurred from 2002 to 2012, they included nearly 31,385 accidents, 11,812 injuries and 511 deaths. Overall, weather-related crashes claimed the lives of over 6,000 people in the ten year period.


Additional data from the FHWA shows that most crashes that occur due to the weather happen on wet pavement and during rainfall. Seventy-four percent occur when the streets are wet and 46 percent occur during rain storms. These accidents account for nearly 1 million crashes and 4,789 deaths from 2002 to 2012.


Motorists can protect themselves


The most important thing drivers can do to increase their safety on the roads is to make sure that their cars are in good operating condition and have adequate tread on their tires. Tires are the first line of defense on the roads, and when motorists fail to take proper care of them, they risk their safety and the safety of those all around them.


Individuals will always be safest when they can avoid dangerous situations. If there is not a pressing need to drive on icy roads or in dangerous conditions, they should simply wait for a break in the weather before driving. Additionally, keeping a proper distance between cars and always using a safety belt are both key to safe driving in these conditions.


Motorists who have been injured in a car accident in Illinois should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. With their help patients can overcome the effects of their injuries and move on with their lives.

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