This fall and winter, it is important to recognize weather hazards and to drive accordingly. Dangerous conditions include rain, fog, snow and ice.

The scenery across highways in Illinois during autumn and winter is known for being picturesque. However, foggy meadows and frost-covered trees also signal one of the most dangerous times of the year, when it comes to driving. It is important for drivers to understand the hazards they may face during the colder months, as well as how to drive in poor weather conditions.

Adverse weather plays a significant role in accidents across the country, according to the United States Federal Highway Administration. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hurt in accidents related to the weather, and about 6,250 people are killed. Poor weather conditions are believed to contribute to 23 percent of all accidents in the nation.

Fall Dangers

Autumn is well known for dramatic changes in weather, states Esurance. A warm, sunny day can quickly change to a chilly night, with a wet and foggy morning following. These weather shifts may result in such road hazards as early-morning frost, reduced visibility due to fog, sun glare and sudden rainfall. During autumn, fallen leaves on the road may mix with mud or ice to create a slippery surface for tires to skid on. Bridges and underpasses may be unexpectedly icy. Wind tends to pick up without warning, throwing branches and debris onto roads and in the path of moving vehicles. Additionally - although this is not related to the weather - children will be walking to and from school. Poor weather can create a hazard for child pedestrians.

Winter Hazards

The risk for motor vehicle collisions rises in the winter, due to such factors as snow, ice and drivers who are unaccustomed to driving in these conditions. One of the worst dangers in late fall and throughout winter is black ice. This is because black ice is usually so difficult to see. It may appear matte, rather than glossy, and is sometimes invisible late at night. This thin sheet of ice is extremely slippery, causing many drivers to lose control before they know what has happened.

There are several things a driver can do to reduce the chances of being involved in a weather-related accident. These include the following:

  • Reduce speed when visibility is poor or when water, snow or ice is on the roads.
  • Give other drivers plenty of room and do not follow too closely.
  • Turn on headlights in fog, rain and snowfall, but avoid using the brights during foggy weather, which increases glare.
  • Be extra cautious in the mornings and afternoons when children are likely to be walking to and from school.
  • Leave a few minutes early in adverse weather so there is no rush.

Despite the best precautions, it may not always be possible to prevent accidents caused by others. An experienced personal injury attorney in Geneva may be able to help those who were injured in a crash.