Chicago has been hit by an early winter snowfall and the streets are blanketed in snow. Snow is an annual part of winter life in Chicago but it can present dangerous conditions, especially early in the season when residents are less used to snowy roads.
Early reports from across the city indicate that at least a dozen weather-related car accidents occurred in the last 24 hours and can be partially blamed on weather conditions. The only injuries reported so far have been minor but officials caution that a serious weather-related crash can happen at any time and that many prove fatal.
With the snowfall to continue on and off through Wednesday morning, it will continue to be important for drivers to exercise caution as they adjust to winter driving.
Many of these collisions are not caused by poor driving conditions but rather are caused by negligent driving that is made worse by the weather. This means that drivers who are speeding, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, or failing to stop at stop signs and red lights are more likely to be involved in a collision when the roads are snowy or icy than they would be if the roads were clear. The weather may contribute to these accidents but in most cases, the weather is not the sole cause.
To avoid a snow or ice related accident, put safety first while behind the wheel. Make sure your car is in proper working conditions and that your tires are not past their useful life. Leave yourself extra time to arrive at where you are going so you will not be rushed on the roads. Leave more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you and be mindful that snow and ice require more stopping distance because of their slippery properties. Always clear your car’s windshields, windows, and exterior mirrors of snow and ice before you begin driving so that your view of the road is unobstructed. And, importantly, if the roads are affected by inclement weather and you do not have to leave your home, consider staying in an avoiding the risk of an accident altogether.