People in Chicago may be participating in unofficial celebrations today as the temperature is expected to exceed 80 degrees for just the third time this year. The skies should be sunny, the weekend is almost here, and families may be getting together this weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day.
While today should be a great day in Illinois, things will become more chaotic tomorrow as a cold front will move towards the city, bringing with it a substantial drop in temperatures and some thunderstorms.
If you live in the Midwest, rain and thunderstorms are a normal part of life. You have no choice but to deal with this form of inclement weather even if it affects your commute, your ability to get your kids to school, or your weekend activities. But even though rain and storms are common here, many motorists lack the skill and/or the desire to drive safely in these conditions, leading to an increased risk of car accidents and traffic collisions taking place throughout Chicago.
But fret not: it can be safe to drive in the rain as long as you take certain precautionary steps:
- Check Your Tires: Tires wear over time and need to be replaced. Even if a lot of miles are not put on the tires, the rubber that comprises them will begin to degrade as the years pass, making a tire blow accident far more likely. If you have not had your tires inspected by a professional recently, consider having that done so that you can learn how much tread is on your tires. Typically, tires with tread depth in excess of 4/32″ are considered safe while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deems tires with 2/32″ or less of tread as unsafe.
- Increase Following Distance: The faster you travel, the more time it will take to slow or stop your vehicle. But when it is raining out, the moisture on the road and on your tires will make it harder to stop than normal which means you should increase your following distance to be safe. That way, you will have ample time to stop at a red light, a stop sign, or before a turn and you will not have to worry about striking a car in front of you.
- Limit Your Speed: If it is raining, it is a good idea to drive a little slower than you normally would, even if you are traversing familiar roads. Speed has been linked to nearly one out of every two car accidents in the nation and speeding during a rain storm is a recipe for a close call, if not an all-out accident. Do not risk your own safety or the safety of others by speeding and instead slow down five to 10 miles per hour, or more if necessary, and be patient as you drive.
- Keep Your Cool: It is never a good idea to panic while driving, especially if you happen to be in a location with a lot of traffic. Do your best to remain calm under pressure if you find yourself driving in a storm and try to focus only on the task at hand: driving.
- Pull Over if Necessary: In some cases, rain can fall too heavily to make driving safe. If you find yourself in that position, do not continue to drive but rather pull over at a safe location and wait for the storm to pass. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to driving in rainy conditions.
Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, you may still be injured in a car accident if another driver makes a mistake. If that happens, consider contacting a personal injury attorney to learn whether you have a legal right to seek relief for your harm.
Prior Blog Entry:
Medical Mistakes: The Third Biggest Cause of Death, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 5, 2016.