Be Prepared For Winter Driving Conditions in Chicago

On Sunday February 15, 2015 at approximately 10:15 a.m., there was a massive “chain-reaction” crash on the Kennedy Expressway between North Avenue and the Ohio Street off-ramp. The Chicago Tribune reported 38 vehicles were involved in the crash and 12 people were taken to area hospitals with injuries. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life threatening.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, firefighters initially shut down all inbound traffic from Ohio as officials worked to clear the scene. It was not until nearly three hours later when officials reopened eastbound lanes and the reversible lanes were shut down for more than seven hours.

The police stated the slippery road conditions caused by lake effect snow were responsible for the chain-reaction crash as there are no shoulders on the express lanes. City officials warned drivers to avoid roads and expressways closest to the lake to avoid the heavy winds and snow that combined to create dangerous driving conditions.

We remind drivers to be extremely cautious while driving in adverse weather – such as the dangerous conditions Chicago faced yesterday. Here are some winter driving tips to keep in mind next time you venture on the road:

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof- before driving;
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads;
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. 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;
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated;
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up;
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface;
  • Always pack a cell phone with your local AAA’s telephone number and cell phone car charger;
  • Equip your vehicle with essential supplies such as: booster cables, snow shovel and scraper, flashlight with extra batteries, sand or strips of carpet for traction, extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze, and flares or reflectors; and
  • Pack warm clothing, blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

For additional tips look here and here.

If you were involved in an auto accident, follow these steps to protect your rights and call the experienced Chicago accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC who have successfully represented those injured in car accidents and who can advise you on your rights and responsibilities. Call us today for your free evaluation at 312.422.0500.