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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Tips for Drivers to Stay Safe in Winter Weather

February 20, 2015

Illinois typically experiences five severe storms each winter. These bring dangers, such as slick surfaces, that frequently cause accidents and injuries. Before going outside, individuals should be aware of the current weather by checking reports and preparing for adverse conditions. Any Chicago injury attorney may be aware of a statewide campaign that has been launched to raise awareness of winter hazards. The following 4 tips may help drivers stay safe on the road.

  1. Temperatures and traction

Moisture can cause slick surfaces at any time, but it is most dangerous when temperatures are between 22 and 35 degrees. When the weather is colder, there is better traction and grip for tires. As traffic increases, the friction warms the surface of the road, increasing the risk of car accidents. If the road is wet but vehicle tires produce little or no spray, this is an indication of hazardous icy surfaces.

  1. Road visibility

Visibility is often affected by winter conditions. Appropriate use of lights can allow drivers the time they need to adjust to the movements of other vehicles. Headlights, turn signals and hazard lights are particularly important during inclement weather. A Chicago injury attorney may suggest that all vehicles should turn on headlights for safety. Turn signals should be turned on at least three seconds before a driver begins to slow down or change lanes. Vehicles traveling at speeds slower than the flow of traffic should use hazard lights to alert other drivers to their presence.

  1. Speed limits

Moving too quickly on ice and snow is a common contributor to accidents. Drivers should slow down and adapt driving techniques to match the conditions. These include using controlled actions and avoiding sudden reactions, especially when accelerating, braking and turning the steering wheel. Allowing plenty of distance between vehicles decreases the need for unplanned movements. Consistent speeds reduce the risk of crashes.

  1. Sidewalks and parking lots

While city and state teams work to clear major roadways, sidewalks and parking lots are usually the responsibility of the property owners. Ice is not always visible, and the Emergency Medical Services Authority warns that it is easy to have a slip-and-fall accident under these conditions. People who are out and about during winter weather should wear appropriate footwear and be wary of surfaces that may be slick. Bending the knees and taking shorter steps can help prevent falls.

Victims of winter accidents on streets and sidewalks often sustain head, back, neck and shoulder injuries, severe cuts and bruises, broken bones and muscle strains. When another’s negligence or carelessness causes an accident, a Chicago injury attorney may be able to help the injured party receive compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.