With snowfall snarling traffic in New York and New England, it is unfortunately not too soon for us to start talking about winter driving. When winter comes along and brings its wicked weather, motorists face an increased risk for a serious Chicago car accident. There are a few simple safety tips that every motorist can follow to help prevent a snowy accident on our roadways.Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that the end of the year brings out a ton of dangers for motorists on our roadways. Kids are getting out of school for winter break, residents are venturing out on holiday vacations, and traffic is reaching a crescendo all while snow and ice return to our roadways. With snowy conditions, drivers struggle to clear foggy windshields and to clear snow and sludge. Some of the snow-clearing clearing techniques can get pretty creative.
Sgt. Jim Jenker with the Illinois State Police says that he’s even seen drivers reach out of their vehicle with an ice scraper to clear their windshield — while they’re driving!
“The worst case was the kids who used a rope tied across the windshield to manually operate the broken wipers,” said Jenkner.
Winter driving tips:
-Make sure your tires are winter weather worthy.
-Make sure your car is equipped with enough windshield wiper fluid.
-Be sure to have a winter fluid in your wiper fluid reservoir with freeze protection of at least -25 F.
-Give your engine time to warm up. This will allow time for the oil pan to heat up to help protect your engine. About 10 minutes is good warm-up time.
-Keep a De-icer on hand. A De-icer can reduce freeze and can be used to melt snow. Ice Scraper, etc.
-Make sure that your vehicle’s heating-defrosting system is working properly and has no blockages.
-Put together an emergency breakdown kit, including food, water, hand-warmers, blankets, road flares, flashlights and colorful sweatshirts to wear when near the road.
-Keep a full tank of gas. You don’t want to run out in the middle of a snowstorm.
“Drive defensively, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, reduce your speed, make sure you have good visibility,” said John Mitchell of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
Driver’s skills are just as important as keeping your vehicle in good working condition during the wicked winter weather.
Safe winter driving habits:
-Slow down. There’s no need for speed when winter conditions leave deteriorating roadways. Stopping is much more difficult on slippery, slick roads that are covered in snow and ice.
-Keep your windshield clear at all times to increase your visibility.
-Stay in your lane. Only change lanes if you absolutely have to.
-Be super careful on ramps and bridges. These roadways ice up quickly.
-Allow snow plows the right-of-way. IDOT will use more than 300 snow removal vehicles on the expressway after snowstorms.
You’re urged to check out the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office‘s forecast for Chicago before heading out during any serious winter weather.
If you or a family member has been involved in a traffic-related accident, the Chicago injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer you a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
Winter driving: What to do, what not to do, by Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune
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AAA Studies Teen Driver Risks to help Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Illinois, Nation, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, October 20, 2011