The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) periodically compiles reports regarding the rate and circumstances surrounding accidents in the state. Most recent statistics indicate that Chicago car accidents can result in serious injuries to drivers, pedestrians, and bystanders. The IDOT reports that most fatal accidents occur on dry roadways; however, this may be related to the lower number of drivers on the road during inclement weather.
Despite the statistics, it is clear that winter weather conditions pose significant hazards to motorists. For example, a recent news report described a harrowing accident that involved a driver skidding on ice. According to police, a 42-year-old driver was driving her SUV when she skidded while turning east. The SUV slammed into a curb and flipped over, colliding into a fence before finally stopping. Two of the passengers were taken to a hospital, and two other passengers refused medical treatment.
It may be unrealistic to expect Illinois residents to avoid commuting in winter weather conditions. However, drivers should understand the different types of weather and how to adjust their driving to accommodate the conditions. Long and harsh winters involve cold temperatures, strong winds, ice, snow, and foggy conditions. Cold fronts, especially when temperatures dip below freezing, can affect how a car operates. During these times, tire pressure can fluctuate, and fuel efficiency can vary. Drivers should ensure that their tire pressure is at the appropriate level and their fuel tanks are filled. Strong winds can cause a vehicle to sway and become harder to maneuver. Similarly, icy conditions can make a vehicle harder to control, especially, when black ice is involved. Finally, snow can cover lanes and traffic signs, causing drivers to enter wrong lanes or ramps, inadvertently.