Once we have waved goodbye to another fall it’s time for Chicago drivers to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. You cannot avoid winter weather in Chicago. Every year, without fail, the snow falls heavily and that 30 minute commute now takes 60 or more. The roads become increasingly hazardous, the number of car accidents shoots up and the number of Internet searches for a car accident lawyer Chicago goes through the roof!
The sad fact is that most of these crashes can be avoided and they are are not solely due to the weather or the driving conditions. A driver could be traveling way to fast for the conditions, or is too close behind the car in front, or driving negligently and not giving a thought to the extra care needed when driving in hazardous, wintery conditions. These are just a few of the factors that contribute to car accidents in the winter.
Falling snow can greatly impede motorist’s visibility. It can make it difficult to see other drivers, as well as potential hazards or even accidents that have already occurred ahead. Driving with low visibility gives a driver less time to both see and respond to what’s happening around him. Snow and ice can quickly accumulate on a windshield and oftentimes the wipers simply cannot cope. If this happens, pull over and put your hazards on. You need to clear that windshield before you continue otherwise you will be driving blind.
The Stopping Distance
During the winter, the distance a car needs to slow or stop completely is greatly increased. This is due to the ice and snow on the road causing tires to slide. The traction between tire and road is thus decreased and it take a lot longer for the car to stop. When a driver chooses to ignore the need for a greater stopping distance he may not be able to bring his car in time for a red light or to avoid another car. This is how many of car collisions happen during the winter, and they can easily avoided by applying some common sense.
The speed limit on a road is set for perfect driving conditions. Driving at 60mph during the summer is absolutely fine. Driving at 60mph during the winter is absolute madness. The latest stats show that as many as 50% of winter car accidents are caused by speeding. Traveling too fast in winter conditions can lead to a driver losing control of his vehicle, spinning out, hitting another car or even leaving the road altogether. Depending on conditions it’s generally advised to drive at half the speed in the winter than you would during the summer; good advice.
A common term for a layer of ice that is virtually invisible due to being able to see the road through it. It is also one of the most treacherous winter driving conditions. Imagine you’ve struggled through snow and ice and are now running late. Suddenly the road ahead looks clear and you put your foot down to make up some time. Then your tire hits a patch of black ice… Once you are on black ice it’s practically impossible to control your car, and if you have been travelling at speed the consequences could be fatal.
It won’t be long before the above scenarios become reality. Please drive safely this winter and don’t become another accident statistic.
Photo source: David Wilson