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How to Drive Safely and Avoid Car Accidents on Black Ice

Joliet winter car accident injury attorneyThe first months of the year are typically when the Chicago area and Will County experience the most frigid winter weather. Depending on the day, temperatures can range between 40 degrees and well below zero. With these drastic changes in temperature, it is very important for drivers to use extra caution on the road, since winter conditions can often lead to potentially fatal car accidents. One common culprit in winter car accidents is black ice, which can be very difficult to notice when driving in low temperatures.

The Dangers of Black Ice

Black ice forms when the temperature at a road’s surface is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes water on the road to freeze, creating slippery conditions that can be difficult to recognize. When black ice is present, pavement will appear to be slightly darker and duller than other road surfaces. If, when you are driving, the road looks wet, and the tires of the cars ahead of you do not spray water, then there is cause for concern.

Bridges, viaducts, and overpasses are greatly susceptible to black ice, as they are exposed on both the top and bottom, causing them to cool faster and allowing ice to form. Black ice also often forms in areas that are heavily shaded. Roads that are traveled more often, such as major highways and interstates, are less likely to form black ice than rural roads and residential areas.

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Avoiding Car Accident Injuries in the Winter

Plainfield car accident lawyer winter weatherAs we enter the cold winter months, the Chicago area has already begun to see some snow and ice. The winter weather can be unpredictable in Illinois, and before driving, it is a good idea to check the weather and plan ahead. Unfortunately, even when people take extra precautions, the winter weather greatly increases the risk of car accidents, and many serious injuries and deaths occur every year in Illinois as a result.

Winter Car Accident Statistics in Will County

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 13,824 reported car accidents in Will County in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. Winter weather was involved in a significant number of these accidents, including: 

  • Over 1,000 car accidents involved snow. There were no deaths reported, but these accidents resulted in 160 injuries.
  • There were 396 car accidents that involved ice. There were 66 injuries and one death as a result of these accidents.
  • 76 reported car accidents involved sleet and hail. There were no deaths reported, and these accidents led to 16 reported injuries.
  • 2,190 car accidents were reported as a result of wet surfaces. These accidents resulted in six deaths and 482 injuries.

Preventing Winter Car Accidents

In unpredictable winter weather, anything can happen. Be prepared for driving in snowy and icy conditions by checking your car’s battery strength, windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze levels, tire pressure, and the amount of wear on tire treads. It is a good idea to keep at least half a tank of gas in your car to ensure that you have enough fuel to reach your destination and prevent the gas line from freezing. 

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How to Protect Yourself from a Car Accident this Winter

Will County winter car accident attorneyWe are almost at the end of the year, and that means that we will likely be getting at least a few inches of snow within the next few months. During the winter, the snowy and icy weather greatly increases the chances of being involved in a car accident. Here are some tips to take care of your car this winter and to protect yourself from injuries caused by a potential collision:

Extra Time Means Everything

Driving becomes much more dangerous when there is snow or ice on the ground. Before driving anywhere, it is best to take some extra time to make sure defrosters, brakes, and mirrors are in good condition. Spending these extra few minutes to ensure that your vehicle’s systems are in working order can make a huge difference during the winter months.

Defrosting Is a Must-Do

If a car is kept outside overnight, then chances are great that condensation and frost may form on the mirrors and car. It is wise to turn the car on at least five minutes before preparing to drive, and it is also a good idea to keeping a towel available to wipe away condensation and an ice scraper to remove any frost. Checking for snow or frost build-up on the headlight and taillights is a good way to take make sure other drivers can see your vehicle.

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