The Illinois Department of Transportation reports there were 296,049 motor vehicle accidents across the state in 2014 alone. Such collisions occur all throughout the year, and often result in serious injuries or death for those involved. The rain, sleet, ice and other conditions that often hit the area during the winter months may increase the risk of crashes. Knowing how to drive in inclement weather, however, may help motorists to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of their passengers and others.
Perform Vehicle Checks And Maintenance
Ensuring their automobiles are road worthy is vital year-round for drivers. Although, performing such checks and maintenance may be more important over the winter. This is, at least in part, because the weather may take a toll on vehicles during the colder months of the year and a breakdown in such conditions can be a more serious situation. Therefore, before hitting the road in the winter, motorists are advised to check their batteries, fluids, tire treads and windshield wipers, in addition to performing their other regular maintenance checks.
Leave Ample Distance Between Vehicles
When the conditions are ideal, it is a good idea for people to leave a following distance of three seconds between their vehicles and the automobiles in front of them. This allows them time to safely slow or stop should the cars in front of them have to do so suddenly. Slowing and stopping on winter roads may require more distance as traction may be reduced and slipping or skidding is a possibility. Thus, it is suggested that drivers allow a following distance of eight to 10 seconds when they are driving in winter weather conditions.
Use Caution On Hills
Maneuvering through hills may be challenging for some drivers and vehicles when the roads are clear. However, when the roads are icy or other winter conditions exist, motorists may have to use extra care to move up hills safely and avoid some motor vehicle accidents. It can be difficult to achieve the inertia necessary to help get cars and trucks over a hill, and applying extra gas is not always helpful. Getting going on a flat roadway may help drivers get traction so their wheels do not just spin. As people reach the hill’s crest, they should proceed slowly down the other side.
Practice Before Hitting The Open Road
Being familiar with what to do if they must break suddenly or if they hit a patch of ice and skid is one thing. Maneuvering through such situations, however, is quite another. It is recommended for those who must drive on the roads in winter weather conditions to practice ahead of time. This may help them know what to expect and how to react, which may help them maintain control of their vehicles and avoid crashing if they have such situations on the road. Motorists may practice driving maneuvers on icy or snowy roads slowly in an empty lot during the day.
Consulting with an attorney
Whether as a result of the weather conditions or due to any other number of factors, motor vehicle accidents may leave people seriously injured in Illinois and elsewhere. The need for emergency and follow up medical care and time off work to recover may leave those injured facing undue medical expenses and lost earnings. Under some circumstances, however, the responsible motorists may be held liable for these and other resulting damages. Therefore, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from discussing their rights and options for pursuing compensation with a legal representative.