Winter 2014 will likely go down in the record books for one of the harshest winters ever. In fact, as of February 9, Chicago has seen 19 days with subzero temperatures and has already received more than 62 inches of snow.
Winter in Chicago can make for treacherous travel conditions, but this winter has been particularly bad. In fact, according to the Chicago Tribune, snow and slippery road conditions have made for “the perfect storm,” leading to a number of auto accidents, including a crash in the southwest suburbs in mid-January that left at least one person dead and two others injured. Icy road conditions were also a factor in a fatal car crash along I-55 at the end of January that took the life of a Joliet woman.
With winter weather conditions likely to continue for several more weeks, drivers are reminded to avoid all unnecessary travel when weather conditions are less than ideal weather conditions. If you must drive during poor winter weather conditions, you should remember to:
- Take extra driving precautions. Roadways are often made more treacherous by snow, ice, and salt. When conditions are less than ideal, you should reduce your speed, allow plenty of room between vehicles, and brake gently to avoid skidding. If you do start to skid, you should stop breaking and turn into the direction of the skid.
- Make sure your vehicle is winterized. Drivers should check the air and wear of the tires with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. The car’s battery should also be properly charged, and windshield wipers should be kept in good working condition with washer fluids topped off.
- Keep winter survival supplies in your vehicle. Several items should be kept in your care during winter months, including water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlight with batteries, flares, battery booster cables, an ice scraper, shovel, and traction mats or salt/sand.
- Take extra precautions when driving on bridges, overpasses, and infrequently traveled roads. Oftentimes, these roadways are the first to freeze, which can cause dangerous driving conditions. Moreover, as we reported, many bridges are in need of repairs, which can make them even more dangerous when weather and driving conditions are less than ideal.
- Do not pass snow plows and sanding trucks. While it may be frustrating to drive behind these slow-moving vehicles, the roads are often safer behind these trucks than in front of them. Moreover, truck drivers have limited visibility, making it dangerous to pass them.
- Always avoid distracted driving and drinking and driving. Distracted driving and drink driving are responsible for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year. Among those killed or injured in distracted driving accidents, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries cited cell phone use as the major distraction. Texting, emailing, or talking on a cell phone should be avoided at all times, especially during winter months when weather and road conditions require more focus and attention.
The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to helping the victims of auto accidents obtain the financial recovery they deserve. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago car crash lawyers.