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The Hazards of Adverse Weather on the Road

For kids living in and around Chicago, late fall through early winter is a time for playing in enormous piles of leaves, enjoying the gorgeous colors that are splashed across the landscape, and waiting for the Midwest snow to show up so you can have a snowball fight. However, for adults living in and around Chicago, this time of year has a slightly different connotation, especially if you have to commute to work everyday.

As a Midwesterner, you have probably already accepted the fact that seventy-degree sun, fog, rain, sleet, snow, and hail can all coalesce into the same work week, so drivers have to be ready for anything. Snowy conditions alone contribute to some 1,300 fatalities and 120,000 injuries annually, and with this in mind, our lawyers wanted to provide you with a list of some of the most common roadway hazards for this time of year. (NHTSA)

High Wind Speeds-Roadway impacts associated with excess wind speeds include limited visibility (as a result of blowing snow, dust, etc.), and lane obstruction due to debris being blown onto the road. Drivers can also experience decreased vehicle performance and stability, especially with larger, more boxy vehicles, meaning it is important to slow down and maintain control.

Precipitation-When precipitation is present, visibility distance, traction, and lane obstruction are always an issue. Whether it is ice, snow, sleet, hail, or rain, your vehicles stopping distance, turning, and maneuverability will be compromised, so maintain a large following distance, and drive defensively.

Ice-Icy roads are some of the most dangerous hazards on the road, due primarily to the fact that drivers are not always aware it is present. ‘Black ice’ often forms in the early morning, or late at night when temperatures are low, and this can cause vehicles to lose traction, and in some cases, lose control all together. If you suspect conditions are right for black ice, reduce your speeds and be especially attentive to the road.

Fog-The main issue with fog is a drastic decrease in visibility. After dark, this can become extremely dangerous, as headlights often reflect of the water vapor in the air. If you must drive in fog, significantly reduce your vehicle speed, and be especially cautious when going around bends and other areas that afford limited reaction times.

Water Level-When you have to deal with issues like flooding or lane submersion, then it’s likely that you are already driving through some kind of precipitation already, and as such car accidents and property damage are much more frequent. Never drive through water on an unfamiliar road without testing it first, as this can lead to serious engine damage and failure of other components in your vehicle.
(U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration)

Adverse weather conditions or not, as a driver you are always responsible for driving safely. If you or someone you know has been injured in an Illinois car accident because of someone else’s negligence, call our lawyers to see if you are entitled to compensation.