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Illinois Winter Driving Safety: What You Need to Know

Winter driving can be hazardous in our state.

Illinois winters are particularly brutal, as we all know. There's falling snow that can lead to whiteout conditions, gusting winds, ice and subzero temperatures to contend with. All these factors make for a rough and hazardous season. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that almost a quarter of all car crashes each year result from bad weather, and many of those happen in the winter months.

This time of the year is dangerous on the roadways. This is due in part to the poor choices made by drivers every day — distracted driving, driving while fatigued and driving under the influence, among others — that are made worse when road conditions deteriorate. Yes, winter driving is difficult, but that doesn't mean accidents are a foregone conclusion. It's possible to drive defensively, and carefully, even when the roads aren't in peak condition, which can help decrease your chances for being in an auto accident.

Avoiding Winter Weather Pitfalls

A major wintertime driving hazard is poor road surfaces. Here in Illinois, ice and snow are prevalent in the winter and early spring. Snow can compact on roadways, leading to bumpy and treacherous conditions, and ice makes it possible to easily lose control of your vehicle. Ice on the road also makes gaining traction difficult at stops and starts, which can lead to skids or spinouts.

Icy roadways necessitate keeping more distance between the cars in front of you when following or stopping; this means you need to drive slower and plan ahead for it to take longer to stop the vehicle than when the roads are clear.

Decreased visibility is another major wintertime hazard. Falling and blowing snow and freezing fog can make it virtually impossible to see other vehicles on the road. Staying off the road during whiteout conditions is best if travel isn't absolutely essential. If you have to drive, though, there are ways to help see — and be seen by — other vehicles on the road.

  • Always turn on your headlights during inclement weather, even during the daytime; this makes it easier for other cars and trucks to see you.
  • Thoroughly clear snow and ice from your vehicle, not just on the front and rear windshields, but also on mirrors, bumpers, windows, headlights, brake lights and turn signals.
  • Keep your front and rear defrosters on at all times; this helps keep your line of sight clear.
  • Use your windshield washer and your wipers often to clear snow and roadway splatter off the windshield.

No matter how careful you are, and how hard you work to keep yourself safe, you could still get in a crash due to another driver's poor choices and bad driving behaviors. If you or someone you care about is hurt in a crash caused by someone else, you may have legal options. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at The Collins Law Firm to find out more. You can contact the firm online or by calling (630) 687-9838 to schedule your free consultation.

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