There were over 300,000 car accidents in Illinois last year and less than 1,000 were fatal, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). But how many of those crashes were caused by winter weather? IDOT reported that nearly 80% of fatal crashes occur on dry roadways, meaning that winter weather only accounts for less than 20% of fatal car accidents.
This winter, at least one person has already been killed in a car accident caused by snow.
In mid-November, a driver lost control and crossed into the oncoming lane because it was snowing, and the road was covered with snow. Unfortunately, the driver hit and killed the driver of another car, as a local CBS station reported. This terrible incident shows that you need to practice extreme caution when driving in inclement weather because accidents can easily become deadly.
Dangerous Winter Weather Conditions
When you live in Illinois, you can experience harsh winters, so you usually have no choice but to drive in inclement weather. You can do your best to avoid driving in snow or extreme cold, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. In that case, it’s best to know what to expect from winter weather so that you are prepared to make the journey. Some bad weather events we have in Illinois include:
- Cold. When the temperatures drop below freezing, and even below zero, it can affect your car and how it works. Tire pressure and fuel efficiency can change depending on the temperature. Always make sure your tires are filled properly and you have enough gas in your tank when planning to drive in the extreme cold so that you don’t get stranded.
- Wind. Strong winds can make driving more dangerous because your vehicle is harder to control. Gusts can blow your vehicle into another lane if you are not careful, and if snow or ice is in the mix, you can slide even more and completely lose control of your car.
- Ice. Cold temperatures can bring on icy roads. Sometimes that ice is apparent, and you can avoid it accordingly. Other times, the ice blends in with the roadway or accumulates when you don’t even know that precipitation is accumulating on the roadway. This is called black ice and is more dangerous because you think it is a safe road to drive on, but when you’re on it or try to brake, you can slide and lose control.
- Snow. Snow can act like ice and makes roads slick. If the snow is covering the lanes, it can make it difficult to distinguish lane lines. Another hazard of driving in the snow is that light can reflect off of it and make it hard to see where you’re going. Since we get on average 20 inches of snow every winter in Illinois, getting snow tires or having good all-weather tires is a good practice for winter.
- Visibility. Although this is not a weather condition, visibility is typically lower in the winter because it gets dark earlier. It can also be hard to see while driving in snow and ice storms in the daytime or nighttime if precipitation is falling quickly and swirling around your vehicle.
While driving in conditions like these, mistakes can quickly lead to serious collisions. If winter conditions get too bad to drive while you’re already on the road, you can pull over and turn on your four-way flashers to remain as visible as possible. Continuing to drive slowly and carefully might be a better option, though, because stopping on the side of the road makes you a fixed object that other cars may not see, and they could crash into you.
Our Law Group Is Here to Help
After a car accident in Chicago, you might not know who to turn to. You might not know what to do next, who is at fault, or how much compensation you should be seeking. At Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys, our experienced car accident lawyers may be able to provide you with answers and with the legal representation you need. Contact us today so that we can help you make a claim and get you the compensation you deserve.