Chicago weather conditions can put drivers at a greater risk of being involved in an automobile accident.
Even though you may be a cautious driver, there are other factors and other drivers that you must remain careful of. Often, there are warning signs on highways and roadways indicating areas that are more impacted by bad weather. Such areas can be slippery slopes, sharp turns, and rocky terrain. Statistics shows that 11% of fatal accidents are caused by bad weather.
Weather-Related Car Accidents
While weather is one factor that contributes to a car accident, there are other factors as well that can turn into a dangerous driving situation. These factors include:
- road type
- pavement temperature
- driver reaction time
Wet Pavement and Rain
Wet pavement can cause hydroplaning when a motorist is driving too fast. This happens when too much water is under a tire and the tire cannot process and spread it fast enough, causing the car to spin out of control. Maintain your tires properly and take safety precautions when driving in bad weather conditions. Almost 1.1 million car crashes and over 5,000 fatalities are caused annually due to wet pavement. Overall, wet pavement and hydroplaning are the cause of close to 80% of all accidents caused by weather conditions. Knowing your car, understanding how it runs in the rain, and your speed can help you reduce the potential danger.
Icy Pavement and Snow
There are many areas across the United States that get extreme snowstorms. Because of these snow storms, schools are delayed and cancelled, people cannot make it to work, and even worse, people are killed in car crashes caused by snow on the roads. Annually, there are about 225,000 car accidents caused by snowy road conditions and almost 1,000 fatalities occur on highways.
On average, icy pavement leads to 200,000 crashes and 620 deaths annually. It is extremely important to have the right tires on your car for the weather conditions in the area you live in. If you are more affected by snowstorms, make sure you avoid driving in snowy weather or driving too fast and make sure you have weather resistant tires. When driving in snowy weather, maintain a distance of at least two car lengths from the vehicle in front of you. This will give you enough leeway in case you need to make an abrupt stop.
Tips to Avoid a Winter Car Accident
Every year many motorists are injured and even killed in winter accidents. Snow, rain, high wind speed, and cold pavement temperatures increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
Drivers should be aware of some of biggest risks associated with winter accidents and should take necessary precautions to keep themselves and others safe.
Tips for Chicago Drivers to Avoid Winter Accident Risks
While most of us are aware that driving on snow could be dangerous, we often fail to acknowledge the other hazards on the road. According to Federal highway Administration, there are various weather related events that can increase the chances of a Chicago car accident. Some of these winter related risk factors include:
Wind speed affects the distance up to which the drivers can see: During winter, snow and dust can hamper visibility and it make it difficult for the drivers to identify obstacles and hazards in their path. High wind speed can create lane obstructions by causing the debris to blow onto roadways. These hazards when combined can significantly increase the risk of accidents, because when the visibility is impaired, the driver may not be able to see the debris that has been blow into the roadway and may not be able to get out of the way in time.
Poor visibility due to fog: Fog increases the risk of car accidents, because the drivers cannot see obstacles on the roadway.
Tire pressure is impacted by pavement temperature: Drivers should ensure that their tires are properly inflated to correct pressure level. This will reduce the chances of a blowout that can cause the car to lose control.
Excess water: Rain or melting snow can cause roadways to become submerged and pose serious risks when motorists lose traction control of the cars.
In United States, more than 5.8 million motor vehicle accidents occur every year. Of these, around 23 percent are weather related, which means, around 1.3 million accidents occur due to bad weather conditions. A majority of these accidents happen when the roadways are wet. Of the total weather related accidents, 74 percent occur when pavement has ice or water on it. 46 percent occur when rain is falling.
Drivers can reduce the risk of getting into a winter accident by following safety best practices, which means, leading to drive effectively in poor weather such as in snow and learning how to respond to ice. Drivers must also learn how to drive in windy and foggy weather. They should reduce their speed to even below posted limits while driving in poor weather conditions. They should use fog lights and low beam lights when driving in foggy weather. These simple steps can help drivers stay safe even in adverse weather conditions.
‘Tis the season, not just for twinkling lights and gift giving, but also for the infamous Chicago winter.
Not surprisingly, the incidence of traffic accidents increases in direct proportion to the decrease in temperature. When you have been the victim of a bad weather accident, a Chicago car accident lawyer can help you. The cost of treating car accident injuries can be very taxing on your budget, but there may be ways in which you can recover compensation for your costs. Follow these tips for staying safe on icy Chicago roadways.
Keep Focused on the Road
Ice and snow on the road demands your full attention even more than normal. Put all distracting devices like your cell phone off to the side and keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
Stopping distance is severely cut short when the roads are icy. By driving at a slower pace, you will be able to maintain control of your car on the ice and stop when it is necessary.
Keep a Safe Distance From Other Vehicles
Double the normal distance between you and the car in front of you. Avoid driving alongside other vehicles on multi-lane roads; strong Chicago winds combined with ice have been known to cause a moving vehicle to drift over the dividing line.
Keep Your Headlights On
Your car’s headlights make you more noticeable to other vehicles. This is especially true when it is snowing.
Know When Not to Drive
Winter weather conditions in Chicago can make driving dangerous. Know when it is best to just stay at home and wait it out to avoid an accident. If you are already out in a storm and find that your visibility is reduced or ice and wind are causing you to lose control over the car, find a safe place to stop and wait out the storm.
Winterize Your Car
Snow tires and special windshield wipers are important to have, but you should also prepare your car for getting stuck. A small shovel, a small bag of ice, a couple of bottles of water and a few candy bars will all come in handy if you get stuck in a snowbank.
Learn How to Not Slip and Slide Away
When you feel your car is starting to slide on an icy patch, resist the urge to brake suddenly. Take your foot off of the gas, shift into neutral, and turn the wheel in the direction of the skid as you gently tap the brake.
Chicago Car Accident Attorney
If you are in a car accident caused by bad weather even after taking all necessary precautions, you may still be able to receive damages from your insurance company. If the accident is caused by another driver who failed to drive safely in poor weather, you may claim damages from the negligent driver. Call our Chicago car accident attorney from Willens Injury Law Offices for legal guidance. Call us at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.