Living in Chicago, winter weather is just part of life. Every year, as the snow begins to fall, the roads become hazardous and winter-related car accidents occur.
What are common Causes of Winter Driving Accidents?
Some of these crashes are mostly due to the weather or to the conditions of the roads. But, in many cases, the accidents are only in part caused by the weather. Often, a driver is:
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Following too closely
- Driving without properly removing snow and ice from the windshield
- Otherwise acting in a negligent manner
These actions can lead to a collision and potential injuries.
In the event that a driver is negligent and causes injury to another person, help is available. The laws in Illinois may entitle the victim to pursue a claim for compensation against the responsible driver. These claims can provide a victim with the means to pay for
- Necessary medical treatment
- Lost income
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Other expenses incurred as a result of the accident
Determining whether a collision was the fault of another driver or just merely an accident can be difficult. Local police may make a determination and issue a citation to a driver who caused a crash. However, even if police issue no tickets, a driver may still have been negligent and legally responsible to accident victims. Speaking with an injury lawyer is a good place to start when trying to understand your legal rights after a crash.
What are factors that Contribute to Winter Weather Accidents?
Regardless of what time of year a crash occurs, in some cases, more than one factor can cause an accident. However, poor winter weather allows even more factors to come into play. Whether the roads are icy, snowy, or just wet, the weather can make a significant impact and can aggravate other factors, including:
In the winter months, snow falling can obscure visibility of drivers. This restricts a motorist's ability to see far into the distance. For example, traffic, potential hazards, or even an accident in front of them.
Snow and ice can accumulate on a car's windows and windshields as well. This can cause a decrease in visibility for those in a vehicle. Attempting to drive with low visibility means that a driver will have less time to react to changing conditions. This increases the odds that an accident will occur.
Poor weather means that cars need more distance to slow or come to a stop than usual. Snow and ice on the road can cause tires to slip and slide, decreasing the traction between the tire and the road and causing the car to take longer to stop. If a driver ignores the need for additional stopping distance, the driver may not be able to bring the vehicle to a standstill in time for a turning car ahead in traffic or a red light, potentially leading to a collision.
Similar to stopping distance, the appropriate speed for traveling in winter weather is different than it may be during the warm, summer months. Speed is believed to be a factor in nearly 50 percent of all accidents nationally, including those that happen during the winter months. Traveling too fast during the winter can lead a driver to lose control of a vehicle. A motorist could potentially spin out, strike another vehicle, or even leave the roadway.
Black ice is a common phrase used to describe a layer of ice on a road that may be difficult or impossible to see before a driver encounters the area. It gets its name because the road surface can be seen through the ice, and when the road is made of asphalt, it appears black. Black ice can emerge quickly and without any warning. This puts drivers in a dangerous situation where they may lose traction and control.
When it comes to driving in the winter, the best thing you can do is prepare for the weather and to make adjustments to your driving in response.
- Leave early so that you are not rushing to your location
- Do not drive too fast for conditions
- Consider leaving extra stopping distance between your car and the car in front of you or between your car and an intersection.
- In the event you encounter snow or ice on the roads, slow down and be mindful that your tires may not be able to grip the road's surface as well as normal
If you drive in Chicago winters, keep that in mind when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Some vehicles handle the snow better than others. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep winter driving in mind when shopping for a car.
Consider using snow tires in the winter months. Also, keep a shovel and sand or salt in your car in case you become stuck while driving.
Do You Need a Winter Weather Accident Lawyers in Chicago?
Even if you are driving as safe as possible, you are still at the mercy of the other drivers on the road. If you have been in an accident during winter driving conditions and sustain an injury, you may be entitled to bring a claim for your damages against the responsible driver. This can be true if you were in the same car as the at-fault driver or another car.
The attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are here to help accident victims who have been injured. We offer all victims a free consultation at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or (312) 924-7575. Our lawyers are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call. There is no obligation on your part for speaking with us.
If a winter accident has left you hurt, make sure you have someone on your side, fighting for your rights. Call our legal team today and let us help you pursue a recovery you deserve.
If you have been hurt in a winter weather accident, call us at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online now for a free consultation.