Winter weather is here to stay in Illinois, so it’s important that residents take precautionary measures to ensure they stay safe on the road until the snow thaws. Today, Sean Sullivan shares some tips every driver should follow so he doesn’t have to represent you in a personal injury suit or insurance claim! That said, Sean is more than willing to help you if you end up in a messy situation this winter.
1. Prepare Your Car
To give yourself the best chance to avoid an accident, take time to prepare your car for winter weather by:
- Swapping out your all season tires for winter tires.
- Adding a blanket and a sandbag to your trunk. The sandbag will provide your car with extra weight which will help it grip the road, and it can be used to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow or ice.
- Checking your fluid levels.
- Packing the car with winter essentials, like jumper cables, an ice scraper and flashlights.
2. Slow Down
It may seem obvious, but excessive speed is the most common cause of traffic accidents during the winter. Just because Illinois raised the speed limit to 70 mph on some rural highways doesn’t mean you need to go that fast.
Remember, the worse the road conditions, the more time you’ll need to bring your car to a halt. Ease into intersections or stop signs. Just because the light is green doesn’t mean you shouldn’t slow down. Maybe the car in front of you can’t get traction and is struggling to get moving, or a driver coming from another direction can’t stop in time and skids into the intersection. Always keep your head on a swivel when you’re driving during the winter season.
If you know a particular section of highway usually has delays, or if there is a sharp turn coming up, ease off the gas. You may be able to go from 65 mph to 30 mph in no time during the summer, but you might not have the same luck with snow on the ground.
3. Prepare Yourself
Your car may be prepped for the winter weather, but you should also make sure you take steps to keep yourself safe this season.
Always dress appropriately for the weather, even if you’re just driving two blocks to the store. If you get in an accident, you’ll probably regret quickly throwing on your moccasins instead of your boots.
Also, keep your emergency information handy. Put your AAA card in your wallet, or write down a list of towing companies or garages in the area in case you need some roadside assistance. It’s also smart to keep a spare cell phone charger in your car. Most people carry their cell phones with them at all times, but it will do you no good in an emergency if it’s out of battery.
Lastly, make sure people know where you’ll be. If you have to travel a long distance, let someone know which direction you’ll be taking. If you don’t show up, they’ll be able to tell authorities where to begin looking. Usually this isn’t a problem on major highways, but if you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, you might end up driving on less-traveled, less-plowed roads. Cell phone reception could be poor in these areas too, so let friends know when they can expect you, and where you’ll be coming from.
All too often I get calls from potential clients that have been involved in car accidents and need help settling a claim. As much as I love to help people resolve their legal issues, I never want anyone to get into an accident. Please remember these tips in the treacherous winter driving season!