At this time of year, the weather can be pretty unpredictable in the Midwest, and the same can be said for the road conditions. In December, a brisk 40-something degree-day at noon can easily transform into foggy, rainy, icy conditions by nightfall, and these conditions can result in tragedy in the wrong circumstances.
Last Friday, three 18-year-olds were killed in a car accident in unincorporated McHenry after their vehicle lost control and veered off the road, according to reports from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary investigations indicate that the three teens were headed southbound on Lily Lake Road in a 1994 Chevy Camaro when they lost control rounding a slight right curve in the street. The Camaro swerved off of the west side of the road and collided with several trees before coming to a halt.
Two of the vehicles passengers were pronounced dead at the scene – a third was transported to nearby Centegra Hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly thereafter; all three were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. The investigation into the crash is ongoing. (NBC Chicago)
Snowy conditions alone contribute to some 1,300 fatalities and 120,000 injuries annually in the United States, and other kinds of adverse conditions claim many more lives. With this in mind, our lawyers want to provide our readers with a list of some of the most common roadway hazards for this time of year.
High Wind Speeds-Roadway hazards associated with excess wind speeds include limited visibility and lane obstruction, often due to debris being blown onto the road (blowing snow, sleet, dust, etc.). Drivers can also experience problems related to vehicle performance and stability, especially with larger, top-heavy 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’s 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 even suspect conditions might be right for black ice, reduce your speeds and be especially attentive to the road.
Fog-The obvious issue with fog is that it creates 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-Precipitation of any kind, in high enough volumes, can lead to issues such as flooding or lane submersion. 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; NHTSA)
Our lawyers take your safety and well being seriously. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you can put the legal system to work for you.