With the atypical temperatures of the last few days, you may have forgotten what a Chicago winter is like in January. For over 70% of the United States, including Chicago, that means cold temperatures, snow and ice. Each year there are hundreds of winter weather-related accidents. Winter Storm Warnings, several inches of white snow and black ice are all reminders to drive at a slower speed as well as increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. Making sure the car is in good working condition helps as well to prevent weather-related accidents, including those resulting in serious injury or death.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) nearly one-quarter of all accidents are caused by weather conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, severe crosswinds, blowing snow or slick roads. In real numbers that works out to over 1.5 million weather-related accidents each year. During the winter of 2013-2014, Chicagoland experienced the “worst winter conditions in nearly 40 years” with 11 major winter storms, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). To put that into perspective on average there are 5 winter storms per year.
The Illinois State Police, AAA and the IEMA as part of their winter preparedness guide, have several tips for driving safely in the winter and avoiding weather-related accidents. In addition, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has a Winter Road Conditions website that includes map of conditions, closures for Illinois parts of some neighboring states.
During winter storms it is best to avoid driving until the streets are cleared and take public transportation if possible.
Should you find that despite the planning, preparation and avoidance, you have become one of the over 4,000 annual winter weather-related injuries in Chicagoland, and are in need of legal representation, contact David A. Axelrod & Associates for a free consultation online or by phone at (312) 782-4600.