Earlier this week, an Illinois auto accident attorney of ours read an article posted by WJBDRadio.com about how winter weather last weekend caused many Illinois car accidents. The article concluded that there were close to 200 accidents because of the winter weather. These examples show that freezing rain, as well as snow, and extreme temperatures can all lead to extremely dangerous conditions for driving. The report noted that most of the affected drivers lost control of their vehicles, due to a decrease of friction, and this lack of control can cause drivers to harm themselves, or even hit others on the road.
After reading about these accidents that occurred because of winter weather driving conditions, our Chicago auto accident lawyers thought that once again going over some safe winter driving tips could be beneficial. The Illinois Department of Transportation offers some great tips, all starting with making sure that your car is ready to be driving in the winter. This means that you should have made sure that your car is in good shape, that you have winter tires, your wipers are working and you have plenty of radiator, windshield, and power steering fluid. It is also important to make sure that you have a full tank of gas and emergency supplies in your car. This could include jumper cables and basic tools, extra clothes or blankets, food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and a cell phone so you can make sure you can contact someone if you need help. Also, having salt or sand could help should your car get stuck and you need to create extra friction on the ground.
Planning your trip is also incredibly important. Firstly, you should only be driving if it is absolutely necessary. If you can avoid driving in bad weather, do it. Make sure you have your route planned out, and tell someone else where you are going. Once you are on the road, we read on AAAExchange.com some tips that could help from swerving or decrease your chances of being involved in an accident. First and foremost, always drive slower in bad weather. Instead of following the three-second rule (finding a stationary object in the distance, and once the car ahead of you passes it count how many seconds you are apart), you should increase it to the nine-second rule. Also, remember that when there is less friction on the ground, it takes longer to stop. If you need to stop, “Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.” This will help to prevent you from swerving or losing control.
As a Chicago car accident attorney of ours mentioned, we know that people need to be on the road at all times, even when weather is bad. However, slowing down, and having a prepared car and planned trip, could help you avoid being in an accident, or help you should you be involved in one. Please drive safely this winter season, not only to protect yourself, but also to protect the people that you share the road with.