Once again, the weather forecast for the greater Chicago area is calling for snow showers this morning, a part of winter that most residents are used to but that many dread. Snow can be pretty and can make outdoor activities like skiing possible, but it can also be dangerous to the safety of those who must move about the city. From covering roads and expressways to making sidewalks icy, snow can be frustrating to deal with at any point in the winter.
Yet snow can be manageable and car accidents can be avoided if all drivers act in a reasonable manner. If you will be driving today or if you might drive in the snow at some other point in time, keep the following tips in mind so that you can help prevent winter weather car accidents:
- Watch the Weather: Being informed about the changing weather conditions is a good way to increase your personal safety. If you are planning to drive, check the weather report first to learn whether snow is projected. If it is, try to alter your plans so that you will not be on the road during the worst of any given storm, if possible, or during any times when conditions are expected to be bad.
- Get a Tune Up: Cars need regular maintenance to keep them in optimal conditions. This can include anything from a routine oil change to a tire rotation, coolant flush, or new brakes. Often, drivers do not realize that their car needs certain maintenance until that vehicle is expected by a knowledgeable technician. Also, make sure that your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working so that other drivers nearby can be alerted to your vehicle’s movements and to decrease your odds of a crash.
- Fill Up Your Tank: During the winter months, it is a good idea to keep plenty of gasoline in your car’s tank. Not only will extra gas prevent you from running out on the side of the road but it will keep your fuel line from freezing, a potentially dangerous situation and one that may require servicing of your car.
- Use Appropriate Tires: Tires are an often overlooked feature on a car and many motorists admit to using tires much longer than they should. Winter tires are designed to provide greater traction when encountering ice or snow and they also function better than standard tires in cold temperatures. If you are unsure about the viability of your current tires, make an appointment to have them checked by an expert and replace them if needed.
- Decrease Your Speed: It is a good idea to drive for the conditions as they present themselves in wintertime, meaning that you should slow down if you encounter snowy or icy roads. Any winter weather conditions can make it more difficult to stop your car when necessary so keeping your speed slower will help you maintain control if a hazard appears in the road or if you must stop for another purpose.
- Increase Following Distance: Similarly, it is even more dangerous to tailgate or to follow too closely to another car in the winter. Resist the urge to crowd other drivers and instead increase the distance between your car and others, thereby providing for a cushion should you need to slow or stop.
- Drive Defensively: Even if you act in a safe and reasonable manner, those around you may be acting recklessly. Prepare for the mistakes of others by driving defensively and anticipating threatening situations. Prepare to use your brakes and be ready to swerve if a situation becomes dangerous.
Most of the time, winter weather car accidents are caused not only by the weather but also by negligence or a mistake on the part of a driver involved in a crash. If you were hurt in a collision in Chicago during the wintertime, you may be entitled to seek relief for your damages against anyone responsible for your harm through the use of a civil claim, and the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. want to help you understand that right. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to victims who call us 24/7 toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. Everything discussed will be kept confidential and when you call us, you will speak to a licensed lawyer about your possible case.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we believe that victims deserve to have their rights protected. If you were injured or if someone you love lost their life in a collision, call us now and let us fight for you.
Prior Blog Entry:
Wrong Way Car Accidents Keep Happening in Chicago, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published January 22, 2016.