Did you know that more than 70 percent of roads nationwide are located in snowy regions and that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in those same snowy areas? Anyone who has driven in wintertime knows it can be dicey and dangerous. Annually, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement, and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.
Winter car accidents can be more severe due to slippery roads, reduced visibility, and cold weather conditions. Factors like black ice, snow accumulation, and shorter daylight hours can increase risks. It’s vital to drive cautiously, ensure your car is winter-ready, and be informed about winter driving safety. If you’ve been involved in a winter car accident, consult with a car accident attorney for guidance.
Winter Weather Car Accidents in Chicago
Winter brings shorter days, colder temperatures, and lots of precipitation—rain, snow, sleet, and hail. It can make everyday car accidents that much more serious. Cold temperatures can affect a vehicle’s braking efficiency, leading to increased stopping distances. Drivers should maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them. There are several typical causes of winter accidents.
Slick and Slippery Roads
When the temperatures drop, wet roads turn into icy roads. The dreaded black ice is treacherous because it’s slippery and hard for drivers to see. It commonly forms on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas, so drivers should be especially alert in those areas. In addition, when drivers feel their vehicle hit the ice, many tend to brake hard, which can result in the vehicle spinning out of control.
Visibility is Poor in Winter Weather
When driving in heavy snow, hail, blizzards, and other wintry mixes, it can be extremely difficult to see the road and other drivers. Snow blows around and builds up on the sides of roads, impacting the ability to see pedestrians and other cars. Visibility will be even worse after nightfall.
Make Sure Your Car is Winter Ready
Before winter weather arrives, earnest drivers should make sure they have plenty of wiper fluid and that their windshield wipers and defroster fans are working well. Make sure your tires are in good shape, replacing those that are worn out and have bald spots. Consider using winter tires, as they can improve traction on icy or snowy roads. They are designed for cold temperatures and will provide a better grip on the road.
Working headlights are imperative when driving in winter weather conditions. You won’t want a dead battery in the dead of winter, so make sure that it is in good working order. It’s also smart for winter drivers to keep an emergency kit in their vehicles with items like a blanket, flashlight, extra clothing, food, and water.
Call a Chicago Car Accident Attorney with Questions
The combination of a car and snow can, unfortunately, equal accidents. If you’ve been involved in a winter car accident, you may be dealing with physical injuries, lost time at work, and a damaged or totaled vehicle. It would be beneficial to speak with the experienced car accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC and get their opinion on the best way to proceed with a legal claim.