Staying Safe while Driving in Chicago’s Extreme Cold

Many drivers in the Chicago area thought that they avoided a bad winter because the early season was so mild. However, the last few weeks have brought multiple cold fronts and storms to the area, sending the city into a deep freeze that chills to the bone and can make driving difficult.

While you may not be able to do anything about the weather, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you are as safe as possible when the cold descends on Chicago. With our experience representing the victims of winter weather accidents, the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. suggest you keep the following in mind before you get behind the wheel:

When Possible, Plan Ahead: This may seem like basic advice but the benefit of forward thinking cannot be overstated when it comes to driving in the wintertime. Nearly every vehicle is sluggish in the cold temperatures but some of these issues can be avoided by making sure your vehicle is in good working order. If it has been a while since your car has been serviced, consider taking it to your preferred garage or mechanic to get a tune up and make sure there are no underlying issues with your vehicle.

Check Your Battery: One of the biggest issues when it comes to winter driving is a vehicle that simply won’t start. Unlike some other parts of a car, a battery is not designed to last the life of your vehicle and will need to be replaced periodically. Further, some batteries that are strong enough to start a car in summertime will not get the job done in winter because it takes more power to start a car in the cold. If you haven’t had your battery tested in some time or if your car is taking longer to start, get the battery checked and consider replacing it if necessary.

Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly: Tires are a big contributor to the safety of a vehicle and yet too often, drivers overlook the importance of this aspect of their car. Air pressure will be lower in cold conditions and therefore it is even more important to check these readings in the wintertime when low pressure can lead to underinflated tires which can make a blown tire or a collision more likely.

Be Prepared for Icy Roads: Even if it is not snowing, cold weather can cause icy roads when the temperature falls below freezing. Cold weather can cause slush and snow to freeze and create a hazardous condition for all drivers; often, there is little warning before arriving at an icy patch so drivers are encouraged to assume roads will be slippery and to drive defensively as a result.

Drive with Plenty of Gas: The last thing you want to happen when the weather is cold is to run out of gas midway through your trip. In winter, traffic can back up and it may take longer to get to your intended destination than planned so make sure you have extra gasoline in your tank. The extra gas can provide an additional benefit by adding weight to your vehicle which may make it easier to handle and control on snow or ice, so before you hit the roads, consider filling up your tank.

Every tip in the book cannot guarantee that you will not be the victim of a winter weather car accident, especially if another driver operates his or her vehicle in a negligent manner. If you are hurt in a car accident, make sure you understand your legal rights and whether you have a valid claim for your injuries.

The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. We offer a free, no-obligation case consultation to all those who have been hurt and we never charge our clients a fee unless we make a recovery on their behalf so if a collision has affected your life, do not wait. Call us today and let us fight for your rights.

Prior Blog Entry:

5 Car Chain Reaction Accident Caused by Running Red Light, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 18, 2015.

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