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Do you know how to drive safely in high winds and rain?

With fall only weeks away, it's a given that Chicago residents will be seeing some windy and rainy days. While we're used to those weather conditions in the Windy City, they can still pose hazards to motorists on the highways. Below are tips for driving in both types of weather conditions.

When the winds are blowing hard, the gusts are even stronger in open areas and at the bases of tall buildings, overpasses and tunnels. Gusts can blow even heavy vehicles off-course in their designated lanes. Semitrucks are particularly vulnerable on the highway, so other motorists should give them plenty of leeway in high winds. Make sure that you drive with both hands firmly gripping the steering wheel and remain focused on the task at hand -- driving.

Heavy rain reduces visibility for drivers and presents the danger of hydroplaning when cars or trucks are driving too fast for the road's conditions. When a vehicle hydroplanes, its tires skate atop a thin strata of water instead of gripping the highway's surface. When this occurs, braking and steering can become very difficult, causing drivers to lose control and get into an accident.

As soon as it starts raining, drivers should reduce their speed, as this is a very hazardous time -- the road becomes slick from oil deposits right after the raindrops begin falling. To make sure that other motorists can see you, as soon as you turn on your wipers, make sure that your headlights are on as well.

When the weather is inclement, allow additional space between vehicles so all cars have time to brake for sudden stops. If you wind up hit from behind or are otherwise injured by another at-fault motorist, you may need to take some legal action in order to be financially compensated for your losses.

Source: The Travelers Indemnity Company, "How to Drive Safely in Strong Wind and Rain," accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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