Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

October 22, 2014

Pedestrian Safety during Halloween Trick-or-Treat

Halloween.jpgNeighborhoods in the Chicago area are sporting pumpkins, gourds, and ghoulish decor, indicating that Halloween is just over a week away. While Halloween may be a time-honored tradition among American children, it is not always a safe day for kids who choose to trick-or-treat or who spend time outdoors. With threats from passing vehicles, poorly lit intersections, and a frenzied atmosphere of children and adults, pedestrian accidents may occur and may cause injuries.

When a child is injured in a pedestrian collision, it can be difficult to know what legal options may be available or where to turn for help. As the facts of every incident vary, speaking with a personal injury lawyer may provide you with the information you need if an accident has affected the life of your child. But the best thing to do is to avoid an accident whenever possible, and to help this year, the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. want to remind everyone of the following safety tips:

- Dress for the conditions: In most cases, children will be walking outside at night. This means that darkness may have fallen prior to trick-or-treating or that it will fall during the time kids will be walking. Even if a child is trick-or-treating indoors, he or she may have to walk to get to a location, meaning that darkness may still be a factor. Prepare for dark conditions by including reflective material in a child's costume or as an accessory or have your child wear or carry a small light, like a flashlight. While the darkness may not obscure a child's ability to see where he or she is walking, it can make it much more difficult for passing cars to notice a pedestrian and can increase the odds of a collision occurring if safety measures are not followed.

- Only cross a street in a designated crosswalk: Children who practice pedestrian safety regularly may be aware that they should cross only at a crosswalk, but during trick-or-treating, the nature of the night might make kids too excited to think safety first. It is a good idea to remind them to focus on safety and to reiterate that, regardless of what other children are doing, they should never dart out into a street and should only cross a road when they have the right-of-way at a crosswalk. Dart out accidents occur across the country during Halloween because excited children forget that cars may be in the area. Talk to your children before they leave the house to remind them that vehicles present a danger to pedestrians.

- Send kids out with an adult or in a group: While it may not always be cool to spend Halloween with your parents, younger children should always have adult supervision during trick-or-treating. An adult can help keep children safe and can make sure that no one gets lost or confused in the shuffle. Older children may not need adult supervision but it is a good idea to make sure they do not walk alone. Consider sending older children out with a group of friends or neighbors and make sure they stay together as the night progresses.

- Plan a trick-or-treating route ahead of time: Consider where it will be safe and where it will be dangerous for your children to walk during Halloween and plan out a safe route with them ahead of time. In an ideal situation, a child will know where he or she should walk and which houses to visit before trick-or-treating begins.

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October 21, 2014

Failure-to-Yield was Cause of Fatal Car Crash

613.jpgTraffic laws vary between states and each city or municipality may have additional codes that cover the behavior of motorists behind the wheel. The basic elements of driving remain consistent throughout the country, though, and that is one of the reasons that drivers who are legally licensed to drive in one state are permitted to drive in all others. Among these laws, universality exists in the design of stop signs, the requirements of following speed limits, and the usage of traffic control devices like stop lights, to name a few.

If a driver does not obey the rules applicable to vehicular transit, that driver may face traffic citations or criminal charges for his or her actions. If a collision results and one or more individuals are injured, the pending charges may become more severe and may include punishments ranging from fines and fees to loss of a driver's license to incarceration in jail or prison.

Failure to yield car accidents are a common threat to public safety in the Chicago area and they cause numerous injuries every year. These occur when one motorist or driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, a bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian, or other in the area of a street or an intersection. Failing to yield means that multiple vehicles may occupy the same space at the same time, leading to a collision. Though these instances cannot be erased once they occur, the victims of car accidents may be entitled to seek relief for their losses when an accident takes place in the Chicago area. Recoveries may be available to provide compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses that result from an accident and often can be available regardless of whether an at-fault driver was cited in the collision.

Police in Naperville have confirmed a Friday morning collision between two vehicles in the area of 75th Street and Book Road. Officials believe that a 45-year-old doctor was traveling eastbound on 75th Street when a vehicle turning south onto Book Avenue failed to yield and collided with the doctor, causing an impact. Due to the crash, the doctor was trapped in his vehicle until emergency crews were able to remove him and transport him to an area hospital. Though he obtained necessary medical care, his injuries were too severe and the doctor died as a result of the crash.

The driver in the turning vehicle was interviewed by police at the scene and has been cited for failing to yield the right-of-way as well as driving without a valid license or insurance. It is not clear whether that driver, a 30-year-old woman, was injured in the collision or whether she required medical assistance.

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October 17, 2014

Pedestrian Killed in Chicago Car Accident

139.jpgWhen an average Chicago resident goes through his or her daily life, that citizen may come into contact with multiple forms of transportation. Some will use personal cars to drive to work while others will take a CTA train or bus to their destination. A growing number of those in Chicago use bicycles to get around the city while others prefer the traditional big city transit: taxi cabs. Regardless, nearly all citizens are a pedestrian at some point in their day, whether walking from a parking spot or a bus station or simply walking their entire trip.

Walking is the most common means of transportation in Chicago but it gets only a small amount of attention. Though almost everyone walks, few focus on pedestrian rights as much as they do the rights of drivers and other motorists. As a result, thousands of pedestrian accidents take place in Chicago annually and most result in injuries to the walkers involved. The injuries most commonly sustained in pedestrian crashes range from bruises and cuts to broken bones and head injuries. In the most severe cases, a pedestrian loses his or her life. While dealing with the fallout from a collision, a victim should not have to worry about whether his or her bills will be paid while missing time from work. To make that a possibility, Illinois enables victims of these crashes to seek relief through the use of a civil claim, and it is a victim's right to obtain assistance from a personal injury lawyer.

Shortly before 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, a pedestrian was hit and killed on the Near West Side of Chicago. Police responded to the scene and have reported that the pedestrian was in the area of the 1100 block of West Roosevelt Road when a vehicle approached and struck the victim, killing him. It is unclear what caused the collision at this time but officials have reported that citations will be issued in this case. The investigation is ongoing as police continue to sort through all relevant facts in this matter.

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October 16, 2014

Lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Representing 2 Victims of Chicago-Bound Megabus Crash

FullSizeRender.jpgThe bus accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. are representing victims who were injured this week when a Megabus crashed in Indiana and are helping the victims seek relief for their damages.

Early Tuesday morning, a Megabus traveling from Atlanta to Chicago was en route in Indiana on I-65. At approximately 4:30 a.m. as it rained, the bus approached a scene involving an earlier car accident. Upon seeing the prior crash, the driver of the Megabus reportedly swerved to avoid a second collision, sending the double-decker bus rolling onto its side and injuring at least 18 passengers on board. Despite the attempted evasive action, it appears that the Megabus collided with the rear of a vehicle involved in the prior crash and pushed that vehicle some distance before the bus began to roll.

Descriptions from witnesses, passengers, and officials involved indicate that it was raining at the time the bus rolled over and that the windshield wipers on the Megabus may not have been functioning properly. Some have reported that the wipers were faulty and were malfunctioning while the bus was in transit while others claim that they were not working at all.

As the bus rolled over, several passengers were thrown from their seats onto the floor and windows of the vehicle, in some cases landing on other passengers. The injuries sustained in the incident include fractured and broken bones, at least one separated shoulder, cuts and lacerations due to broken glass, and head injuries. Of the approximately 50 or 60 people on board, 18 were injured enough to require treatment at area hospitals with several in serious condition.

Abels & Annes, P.C. is representing some of the victims injured in this crash through the use of a civil claim for damages. Our personal injury lawyers are reviewing all facts related the collision and will seek the best possible outcome in each case as we fight for our clients' right to recover compensation, including payment for medical bills, surgical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages as each case demands.

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October 15, 2014

Megabus Headed for Chicago Crashes, Injures 18

FullSizeRender.jpgA large number of people who call Chicago home do not own a personal vehicle and instead opt for public transportation on a daily basis and during longer trips. Among those that do own cars, public transit also may be an attractive option due to the large number of options, like trains, buses, and planes as well as the flexible schedules offered. With traffic a constant issue in the city and the surrounding areas, it may not be surprising that millions take advantage of public transit in Chicago and across Illinois every year.

One popular option of transit for those looking to leave the city is riding by bus. Greyhound and Megabus are among the large providers that service the Chicago area and are heavily used. When riders board a Chicago area bus, they put their safety in the hands of the bus driver, the operating company, and any other individuals and entities in charge of maintaining the safety of the vehicle. But few think in these terms - they book a ticket, board a bus, and relax. Unfortunately, numerous bus accidents occur every year in Chicago and many of them result in injuries to the passengers on board. Whether multiple buses collide, a crash involves a bus and a private vehicle, or a one-bus accident results, the damages can be significant, especially in buses that do not offer seat belts for passengers.

When a crash occurs and a passenger is injured, the victims may not understand their legal rights or whether they have a valid claim for relief. Consulting with a Chicago personal injury lawyer may help you understand your options, including whether you may be entitled to financial payment, if you have been involved in a bus accident.

A bus operated by Megabus traveling from Atlanta to Chicago was in Indiana on Tuesday morning when the driver swerved to avoid a collision, causing the bus to roll over and leaving at least 18 people injured. The incident occurred on I-65 around 4:30 a.m. and reportedly involved between 50 and 60 passengers in addition to the driver.

Local police responded to the scene to assess the accident and assist the victims. It appears that the driver did not notice the prior accident initially, possibly due in part to rain, and noticed it just before an impact would have occurred. When the driver swerved, the road was wet from rain and the bus rolled onto its side. The double-decker bus reportedly sent several people airborne as the crash occurred and left passengers with head injuries, broken and fractured bones, broken glass imbedded in wounds, and other injuries.

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October 13, 2014

Alcohol Suspected in Chicago Crash that Claimed Man's Arm, Then His Life

1512.jpgIllinois laws against drinking and driving are clear and strict: if you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, you will be presumed to be under the influence and you may face traffic and/or criminal penalties. Punishments for drunk driving accidents often include fines, fees, community service, loss of a driver's license, house arrest, probation, or even incarceration. In some cases, the punishments faced become more serious when an accident occurs and one or more individuals involved are injured or killed.

But the laws against drunk driving in Chicago and across the state are broader than what is described above. In addition to motorists with a BAC of .08, anyone can be guilty of operating under the influence if they have consumed a drug or alcohol that inhibits or decreases their ability to drive. This can include smaller amounts of alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs, or even over-the-counter medications. Additional, drivers who are under the legal age to consume alcohol of 21 years in Illinois are not allowed to have any alcohol in their systems.

The laws are designed to keep the roads safe for everyone who uses them by discouraging drivers from drinking before taking the wheel. Despite the strict laws and serious possible punishments, though, thousands of drivers continue to take to Chicago roads every year, causing accidents and leaving injured victims in their wake. These victims may not be able to undue the harm done to them but they may be entitled to seek financial payment for their damages if a drunk driver caused their injuries, including payment for any medical bills incurred and pain and suffering endured. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand your rights if you have been involved in a Chicago car accident.

Police in Chicago have reported that two individuals were riding in a vehicle on the city's South Side on Saturday when a crash occurred, and they suspect that alcohol may have been a factor. The 37-year-old driver was traveling in the 8200 block of South Chicago Avenue around 1:00 p.m. when the motorist lost control of the vehicle, struck a light pole, and then collided with a parked car. The driver sustained serious injuries in the accident and was transported to an area hospital where the nature of the injuries have not been revealed, but police have indicated that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol prior to the impact.

In addition to the driver, a 44-year-old male front seat passenger was involved in the crash. The incident reportedly amputated one of the man's arms but emergency crews were able to tend to the victim and transport him to a hospital. Doctors attempted to save the man's life but he died in the early evening hours of the injuries sustained in the collision.

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October 10, 2014

Bicyclist Critically Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash with Semi-Tractor

1421.jpgBicycle accidents happen in Chicago in numerous ways and involve many types of motorists, drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and others. The typical view of a bicycle crash may trigger an image of two bicyclists colliding but when it comes to riding in Chicago, that is not the most common type of crash that occurs. Often, cyclists and drivers of cars, trucks, or vans collide at intersections when one fails to yield the right-of-way to another. In other cases, a car passing a cyclist on the left may fail to leave enough room to pass safely, resulting in a side-swipe bicycle accident that can leave a rider seriously injured. Another common type of collision involves a stopped vehicle and an oncoming bicyclist. Failing to make sure no oncoming traffic is present may lead a driver or a passenger to open a car door and possibly to force a cyclist to strike the door, an accident appropriately referred to as "dooring."

These are merely three common examples of why bicycles and vehicles collide on Chicago streets but they are far from inclusive. Other actions by those involved in collision cause accidents every year and may leave victims behind with injuries. While nothing can erase the damage from these collisions once they take place, but the victims of these crashes may be entitled to seek financial compensation to help cover their monetary and other losses and return them to their pre-injury state. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand Illinois laws as they apply to your collision, including whether you have a valid claim, and may also help you understand who may be held at-fault. In some cases, an at-fault driver may not receive a traffic ticket or a citation but may still be found responsible for the damages caused to a victim if a civil case is initiated.

According to Chicago police, a 47-year-old was riding a bicycle in the area of the 3600 block of South Ashland Avenue on Tuesday afternoon when a semi-tractor approached and struck the cyclist, causing a crash. The bicyclist was left with critical injuries and was taken by ambulance to an area hospital where the victim's current condition remains unclear.

Police are looking for help from the public as the driver, operating a tractor that hauls a trailer but without a trailer attached, allegedly fled the scene after striking the cyclist without speaking to authorities or checking on the condition of the victim. The driver is believed to be a white male with blonde hair and a beard, possibly in his 30s. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chicago Police Department.

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October 8, 2014

Police Pursuit of Teens Ends in Fatal Car Crash

IMG_0238.jpgHundreds of thousands of car accidents occur in Illinois every year with a large number of those collisions taking place in Chicago and across Cook County. With the large population in the city comes a large number of potential drivers, and unfortunately, potential victims of car crashes. Many of these accidents are minor and may be described as fender benders by the motorists involved, meaning that the damage done to vehicles may be minimal and that no serious injuries may result. However, in a large number of car accidents, the drivers and passengers involved may sustain injuries that require medical treatment and may incur significant financial damages as a result.

When a crash produces injuries, those victims may be entitled to seek financial compensation for their damages, including the medical bills they incur. The right to seek relief belongs to the victims in these cases and cannot be prevented by an at-fault driver or an at-fault owner. However, claims must be brought within a time period specified by law so victims may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer to ensure that their rights are protected.

Police in Chicago have confirmed that an attempt at a traffic stop this morning turned into a chase and ended with a vehicle crashing, leaving one teen dead and another seriously injured. Police began following a Toyota on the city's southwest side for reasons that are not yet known. The Toyota allegedly did not stop but continued driving in the area of West 32nd Street and South Central Park Avenue shortly before 2:00 a.m. At some point, police officers report that they backed off the Toyota but that the Toyota continued on West 32nd Street until it struck and collided with a concrete barrier.

Emergency crews responded to the scene and evaluated two 17-year-old males that were in the Toyota. One was pronounced dead at the scene and the second was taken by ambulance to an area hospital with unspecified injuries. He reportedly is in serious condition.

Authorities investigated on the scene for some time and are continuing their investigation at this time. It is not clear whether the victim who lost his life was the driver or a passenger in the car, nor is it clear whether any traffic tickets will be issued in this case.

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October 7, 2014

Semi-Truck Collision on I-94 in Indiana

034.jpgSemi-trucks are ever present on Illinois roads, winding their way through Chicago and on the expressways that border the city limits. Many drivers find trucks to be annoying because they operate at lower speeds, take longer to get up to speed, and require greater distances to stop than a typical passenger vehicle. But trucks serve a vital purpose as they continue to provide some of the most cost-effective means of moving goods over a distance.

While trucks are everywhere, they are involved in fewer collisions per mile traveled than the average driver. Yet when a semi-truck accident occurs in Chicago, the results are more likely to be severe. Trucks are disproportionately responsible for fatal accidents and for accidents that result in serious or permanent injuries because they are often several times larger than other vehicles involved in a crash.

Victims of truck accidents may feel like they are the least lucky drivers in the Chicago area. Not only were they involved in a traffic collision, but they were struck or hit by a semi-truck or other large vehicle. While victims are dealing with the fallout, insurance companies often get to work to try to limit their liability or eliminate any payments that may be owed to a victim. Under the laws of Illinois, victims have the right to seek relief for their damages, including financial compensation for injuries and medical expenses. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can make sure that you have an advocate on your side, fighting for your rights so that an insurance company cannot take advantage of you.

Shortly before 4:00 a.m. today, police in northwest Indiana were alerted to a semi-truck accident on I-94 near State Road 249. When they responded, police were able to determine that a semi-truck collided with a barrier wall while traveling in the westbound lanes. The impact from the crash caused the truck to block much of the expressway and led officials to close the interstate to westbound traffic for more than three hours while the investigated and cleared the wreckage.

At this time, it is not clear what caused the driver of the truck to lose control of the vehicle or whether the driver was injured as a result. Officials have not reported whether the driver will receive citations in the crash but they have stated that their investigation is ongoing at this time.

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October 6, 2014

Multi-Vehicle Crash in Oak Lawn Leaves 3 Dead

20130725_130057.jpgEvery year, nearly 300,000 car accidents occur across the state of Illinois. These accidents take place in the most populated areas as well as the most rural, meaning that no driver, no passenger, or even no pedestrian is guaranteed safe from a possible crash. Unlike many activities in life, driving combines one motorist's actions with the actions of all other drivers in the area to determine how safe conditions will be. The safest driver in the state or in the Chicago area may still be injured if another driver in the area fails to yield the right-of-way or otherwise acts negligently.

When a car accident occurs, victims may be left to wonder why they were injured or whey they must bear the financial burden of a crash that was not their fault. Fortunately, the laws in Illinois are designed to protect those who have been hurt by allowing them to seek financial compensation for their damages, including the medical bills they have incurred. As the facts and circumstances surrounding every collision vary, it may be helpful to speak with a personal injury lawyer to learn about the implications of your accident and whether you may be entitled to relief.

Around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, a serious collision involving 11 vehicles occurred in Oak Lawn that left three people dead and 11 others injured. According to local authorities, a speeding driver traveling west on 95th Street allegedly ran a red light at the intersection with Cicero Avenue and collided with a line of stopped traffic waiting to travel east. The eastbound traffic was not moving because all motorists were at a red light, witnesses reported.

Including the westbound motorists, 11 vehicles were involved in the impact and three individuals lost their lives due to this collision. Another 11 people were injured with two reportedly in critical condition, eight with minor injuries, and one with an unspecified condition. It is not clear whether those victims in critical condition are facing life-threatening injuries or whether they are expected to survive. Some reports have indicated that the suspect driver who was traveling westbound was among the three people killed in the crash and it is possible that the alleged at-fault vehicle flipped and rolled over in the collision.

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October 3, 2014

Freight Train Strikes, Kills Woman in Illinois

20130630_134411.jpgOn your daily trip through Chicago, you might not realize how many trains you see. Train travel and train traffic is so common throughout the city that many residents look past the large number of trains that hit the tracks daily, accepting them as standard as the taxi cabs that take to city streets. Yet if you take the time to notice trains, you will realize that between public "L" trains in the city, Metra commuter trains from the suburbs, Amtrak trains for longer trips, freight trains hauling product, and other trains that may be passing through, it is hard to move around Chicago without the possibility of encountering a train.

You may be one of the millions that take a trip on a train every year in the greater Chicago area or across the state of Illinois. When you do so, you probably assume that everything will be safe and that you should have no worries while on board. Unfortunately, though, numerous train accidents occur in the state annually and many of them take place within the city limits of Chicago. Some of these accidents involve only one train while others may take place when multiple trains collide. Some of the most deadly train-related crashes involve either a passenger vehicle, like a car, or a pedestrian who may be walking in the area of train tracks. While a train is large, heavy, and may be difficult to stop, a person, in comparison, is small and unprotected, making it clear why these accidents can easily turn deadly.

When a pedestrian is injured or killed by a train, that victim or the victim's surviving family members may be entitled to seek financial compensation for their damages, though no amount of money can ever be considered adequate when a loved one is killed. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicago area may help you understand your legal rights, including whether you have a valid claim for your damages.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. last night, a collision between a pedestrian and a freight train in Maywood left a woman in her 60s dead, according to local authorities. The incident happened near First Avenue and Main Street and resulted in the closure of the area while an investigation began.

Officials have not indicated what may have caused the crash or whether anyone involved may have acted negligently but they indicate that they are still reviewing the facts at this time. It does not appear that anyone on board the train was injured in the incident and the victim has not yet been identified.

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October 2, 2014

Chicago Thunderstorms May Lead to Car Accidents Today

20140826_164014.jpgA series of storms that may bring thunderstorms are set to move into Chicago this evening. In anticipation of the storms and due to last week's fire at the Aurora radar center, nearly 800 flights out of O'Hare and Midway have been cancelled for today.

It is easy to understand how inclement weather, especially that which involves heavy cloud cover and the threat of lighting, would affect air travel in a city. But fewer people consider the impact that a major storm will have on their ground transportation. Reality means that the majority of those who live in, work in, or visit Chicago will use some form of ground transit, whether it is a private car, a taxi cab, a public city bus, or a city or suburban commuter train. Each of these forms of transit can be affected when a storm hits.

As evening rush hour begins today, drivers will face an increased risk of travel due to the storms. Heavy rains are anticipated and winds may reach up to 55 miles per hour. When the weather hits, the visibility on city streets and on expressways and interstates likely will decrease. The roads will become slick and the ability to stop in a short distance will be decreased.

If you drive in Chicago, you may be alert while behind the wheel tonight, but that does not mean that all other motorists in your area likewise will be paying attention or adjusting their driving as necessary. While poor weather is a contributing factor in a number of Chicago car accidents every year, it is rarely the sole case. Instead, poor weather generally combines with speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, or failing to yield the right-of-way to cause a collision.

A driver who acts negligently during a storm may be held liable for any collisions that result. In addition to traffic tickets, that driver may face a civil claim for damages by any or all of the victims who are hurt in a crash because the right to bring a civil claim belongs to each victim individually. If you have been hurt in an accident, speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand whether you have a valid claim for your injuries.

It is always best to avoid or prevent a collision when possible, so before you take to the road in a storm, consider the following:

- Slow down: Speed is believed to be a factor in 50 percent of all accidents across the nation as well as 1 out of 3 fatal collisions. When weather is bad, slow down and be prepared to decrease your speed further if conditions or traffic require it.

- Increase the distance between your car and the car in front of you: Following too closely can turn deadly when it begins to rain. As soon as the rain begins to fall, a road's surface can become slick and slippery, meaning that it will take more time than normal to bring a car to a stop. To prevent a rear-end accident, make sure you leave extra space between your own car and the car in front of you so that you can slow or stop if necessary.

- Stop if necessary: Some storms are too dangerous to risk driving through them. In addition to heavy rain that may obscure vision, lighting strikes or heavy winds can bring down trees in the area and can cause a collision. If the weather makes it unsafe to drive, pull over and find a safe place to stop until the weather passes.

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