Living in the Midwest, we're no stranger to adverse winter weather conditions. Nevertheless, winter weather-related accidents occur each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are roughly 5,870,000 vehicle crashes that happen each year, and nearly 1/4th of these crashes are caused by weather-related incidents. In order to help ensure your safety on the roads this winter, it's important to understand the best practices in winter driving. The team of personal injury attorneys at Lipkin & Apter has compiled a list of tips to encourage responsible, safe driving through the remaining winter months.
- Have a cell phone on hand in case of emergency
- One of the most important things to remember about winter driving is that you have to plan ahead in case of an emergency. This includes bringing along a charged cellular device in case you need to make an urgent phone call; however, this does not mean using it while driving, which would be illegal. Illinois law states that utilizing a cellular device in an emergency or if you're pulled over on the side of the road IS legal, so make sure that you understand the difference.
- Keep an extra blanket in the car in case of emergency
- Due to frigid winter temperatures, you'll want to make sure that you have a blanket or something to keep you warm in your car in case of an emergency.
- Adjust speed to weather hazards
- Harsh winter conditions such as ice and snow require you to practice defensive driving, while also monitoring your speed at all times.
- Make sure your car is free of all obstructions
- Snow and ice must be cleared off for optimal visibility while driving in the winter. For the safety of yourself and others on the road, please take the extra time to defrost your car and scrape off the windshields completely.
- Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound and fully operational
- Winter driving is all about ensuring safety. Make sure that your vehicle is in good working condition before heading out onto the roads, especially once temperatures drop.
- Have patience and avoid aggressive driving behaviors
- One of the most important factors that go into safe driving during any season is the overall habits and behaviors of the driver. In order to reduce your risk of causing an accident, please make sure that you’re relaxed and prepared to encounter slower speeds and more traffic. Keeping a cool composure creates a safer driving experienced than someone who's an aggressive driver.
By following the above safety tips, you'll help ensure the safety of yourself and others while driving in winter conditions this time of year. Of course, sometimes accidents occur that are unavoidable; in that case, after receiving medical care, please contact the auto accident attorneys at Lipkin & Apter.