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Frigid Chicago Weather Could Increase Accident Risks

Attention Chicagoland! It’s time to break out the boots and the heavy snow gear, because we are in for some seriously frigid temperatures. According to the National Weather Service temperatures could fall below zero degrees this week, which would be the coldest days of the winter season thus far.

The weather service has issued a wind chill advisory for Chicago and much of its outer neighborhoods and cities from 6 p.m. yesterday to 9 a.m. this morning, and officials expect wind gusts to reach 30 miles an hour, making the wind chill roughly 20 degrees below zero. It is certainly cold enough to snow, and any precipitation whatsoever could quickly turn into black ice, causing problems for drivers throughout Illinois. (Chicago Tribune)

Unfavorable weather and road conditions cause more than 1.5 million car accidents every year. In fact, adverse conditions caused by snow and ice alone result in some 200,000 injuries, totaling nearly 25 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Icy and snowy conditions can affect visibility, stopping distance, traction, and many other factors that are crucial in keeping you safe when on the road. (The Weather Channel)

Our Chicago injury lawyers know that if you have lived here for even a few years you are no stranger to driving in snowy weather, but we are going to provide you with some safety tips any way.

• Work to Extend Your Stopping Distance-You never know when your tires will be at a loss for traction. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
• If You Have to Brake, Do So Gently-Breaking abruptly can cause your car to skid, increasing you chance of an accident. Ease into the brake and keep yourself and your passengers safe.
• Keep Your Lights and Windshield Clean-Your visibility in bad weather is very important, don’t allow yourself to lose sight of the road, even for a short amount of time.
• Use Low Gears-Lower gears allow your car to have more torque and traction, making it much easier to turn and stop when needed. This is especially important on hills.
• Don’t Use Cruise Control-Bad weather can be hard to gage, and black ice can be anywhere. It is always safer to keep full control of your acceleration and use caution.
• Be Careful on Bridges-The many bridges in Chicago will be the first to freeze if there is any precipitation present, be aware of this and be especially careful.
• Don’t Assume Your Car Will Handle the Weather-It doesn’t matter if your car is four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. These types of cars can encounter trouble on winter roads too.

As we get deeper into the winter season, it is important to realize that we don’t always have full control over our cars and the weather we drive in. Exercising caution and care doesn’t just keep you safe, it keeps everyone around you safe as well.