Avoid an accident this winter with these 4 safety tips
Illinois has launched a campaign called “Ice and Snow, Take it Slow” to raise awareness of proper driving techniques in winter conditions and reduce the number of traffic accidents. The best way to prevent a car accident in Illinois is to avoid driving when the roads are icy. When staying off the road is not an option, an individual should check current road conditions and weather reports to choose the safest route and prepare for adverse driving situations.
Road condition awareness aids in adjusting driving methods
While surfaces may be slick any time there is moisture on the road, traction is affected most when the temperature is between 22 and 35 degrees. Colder temperatures allow tires to get a better grip on snow and ice. However, heavy traffic causes more heat on the surface of the road, increasing crash risks. When the road is wet, but there is little or no spray coming off vehicle tires, the road is icy and dangerous, and drivers should exercise extra caution.
Speed is often a contributor to crashes on ice and snow. The Illinois Department of Transportation recommends that drivers slow down to accommodate for road conditions. This does not only apply to the miles per hour the vehicle is traveling. Drivers’ actions should also be controlled and deliberate without sudden reactions. Hard acceleration or braking and turning the wheel sharply often decrease traction and add to the risk a crash. A consistent speed with plenty of distance between cars increases safety and can prevent serious injury.
Increasing visibility reduces accident risk
During inclement weather, lack of visibility is often a significant risk factor. Drivers should turn on headlights to make vehicles more visible to drivers ahead and behind. Turn signals are always important, but they should be turned on three seconds before beginning to slow down or change lanes during significant bad weather. When a driver is going slower than the rest of traffic, the hazards should be turned on so that there is ample warning for other vehicles to pass and avoid a pileup. Snowplows and large trucks often put off a lot of spray, and they have a limited field of visibility. It is best to allow a larger amount of space and avoid passing larger vehicles on icy or snowy roads.
Drivers should be prepared to pull off the road if conditions become too dangerous to continue, but no one should ever stop a vehicle on the road. It is best to creep the vehicle off the road and find a place to pull over safely. Waiting out the storm in a parking lot of a gas station or restaurant reduces the chances of becoming snowed in, since snowplows often clear these areas soon after highways and entrance and exit ramps. When there is no shelter available, having an emergency kit with an ice scraper, blankets, flares, jumper cables, food, and water can keep a person safe while waiting on conditions to clear.
Irresponsible driving behaviors during dangerous winter weather conditions often lead to severe accidents. The victim of a collision may be able to receive compensation for property damage, medical bills and pain and suffering. A Chicago personal injury attorney may be able to help.
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