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Illinois Winter Weather: How to Drive Safely in the Snow and Ice

group of cars driving in a heavy snow area

The winter season is finally here, and residents across the state of Illinois know all too well that weather conditions can be brutal and unpredictable during this time of year. As a result, roads can be more dangerous for even the most experienced drivers. Statistics from the Department of Transportation (DOT) reveal that weather plays a role in about 21% of all annual car crashes.

Knowing how prep for these adverse conditions can help you, your family, and others on the road stay safe. Below, we provide five essential safe driving tips to heed this winter season.

Prepare Your Vehicle Ahead of Time

It’s important to remember that safe driving begins before you even start your car! It’s a good idea to prepare your vehicle ahead of time, ideally before the winter season begins or at least before you know that an upcoming storm is going to hit. Keep up with regular vehicle maintenance, including oil and air filter changes. Additionally, make sure to check your tire pressure, tire tread, windshield wipers, heater, battery, coolant levels, and all your vehicle lights throughout the winter.

Avoid Driving in Adverse Conditions

While we know it’s not always possible, it’s always recommended that you avoid driving in adverse weather conditions. Before you plan to get on the road or travel, get in the habit of checking the weather app on your phone to see what road conditions will be like, and avoid driving if there will be an active snowstorm during your planned travels. You can also check if there have been any accidents on the road that could pose a safety hazard.

Adjust Your Driving Habits

Driving in inclement weather requires you to adjust your normal driving habits. This includes reducing your speed, increasing your buffer, turning on your headlights, and avoiding the use of cruise control. Additionally, when driving in adverse conditions, eliminate distractions like cell phones so your full attention can be on the road. Remember, using handheld devices while driving is also illegal in the state of Illinois.

Be Wary of Black Ice

Motorists who are on the road when temperatures are below freezing are at an increased risk of hitting black ice. This is essentially a thin coat of transparent ice that is practically impossible for drivers to spot because it blends into the road pavement. Black ice is most common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded spots on the road. When driving in freezing conditions, be wary of black ice by reducing your speed to avoid a potential skid or spinout.

Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car

During the winter months, you never know when an emergency situation may occur that puts you in a potentially dangerous situation, such as your car skidding off the road, getting into a car accident, or breaking down in an unknown area. In times like these, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive emergency kit in your vehicle at all times that includes a first aid kit, jumper cables, road flares, blankets, flashlights, batteries, water bottles, and non-perishable food items.

We’re Here If You Need Us

Wherever you are going, the team at Turner Law Group hopes that these tips help you get to your destination safely this winter. Should you be injured in a car accident caused by another negligent driver, however, we are here to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Contact our Geneva and Sycamore car accident attorneys at (800) 653-0198 to get started with a free case review today!