Driving in the winter in Illinois brings a whole new set of challenges. Snow, sleet and ice can make driving hazardous, limiting visibility and control while driving. It is no wonder that there are so many car accidents during these cold months, causing not only damage to thousands of vehicles, but also causing serious injuries and fatalities.Weather Impacts On Driving Accidents
According to the Federal Highway Administration, 1.5 million motor vehicle accidents are attributed to weather each year. These crashes lead to over 7,000 deaths and an estimated 629,000 others are injured. These accidents are not necessarily caused by the weather, however they happen when there are poor conditions that can impact safety. The FHWA estimates the following conditions cause the most crashes:
- Wet pavement. The most dangerous weather related road conditions are wet pavement. Rain, melted snow and ice all contribute to slick, wet roads. 75% of weather related accidents happen on wet pavement.
- Ice. 13% of weather related crashes are due to ice. It causes over 190,000 crashes and over 62,000 injuries.
- Snow/Sleet/Slush. Sleet, slush and snow are present in over 390,000 crashes each year, with over 118,000 injuries and almost 1500 deaths.
These conditions make it difficult to stop and control vehicles, even those equipped with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive. When coupled with the normal causes of accidents such as distraction, speeding and reckless driving, these accidents can become even more deadly.Driving Safely In Chicago’s Winter Weather
Anyone who has spent a winter in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois knows that the roads can become slick and difficult to drive on through the winter months. Ice, snow and wet pavement cause stopping distances to increase and can attribute to sliding, fish-tailing and other losses of control. In addition, snow, sleet and fog can make it difficult to see, increasing the odds for an accident. To stay safe and prevent accidents, OSHA suggest following the three “P’s” of winter driving safety: prepare, protect and prevent.
- Prepare for driving. Make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter driving. Use winter tires, have your vehicle maintained and allow extra driving time for trips in poor conditions.
- Protect yourself. Always use your seat belt and bring water, blankets and food for long trips and in case you get stuck in a storm.
- Prevent crashes. Use extra precaution when driving in winter weather conditions. Slow down and pay attention to the road. Do not talk or text on your phone, don’t drink alcohol before driving and increase the distance between your vehicle and the one you are following.
Just like any motor vehicle accidents, winter car accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities that can change you and your family’s lives forever. While weather can contribute to any accident, there is usually still driver error that is involved. If you are the victim of a serious injury accident, you will want an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
Don’t let another driver or an insurance company tell you that a Chicago car accident on a snowy or icy road was simply inevitable. As with all of our auto accident cases, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers focuses on establishing what the other driver did wrong and them causally relating your injuries. Contact us now before you consider speaking to an insurance company.
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