A 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.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Chicago and you were injured, the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. want to help you by making sure you receive the legal representation you deserve. Our team only represents accident victims and we never represent insurance companies so will know that our interests rest with you.
We offer a free case consultation without any obligation to those victims who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a car accident has affected your life, even if the weather played a role, call us today and let us help you seek the relief you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
Head-On Collision Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Injured, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 1, 2014.