If you like weather that changes so often it makes it hard to prepare for the day, then Chicago may be a perfect place for you to live. Over the last few days we have seen torrential rainstorms and bright sunny skies, not to mention wind so strong that it could knock down a pedestrian. Soon we will have to contend with sleet and other weather-related conditions that make driving on our roadways difficult and even hazardous.
With water and moisture one of the primary weather-related threats to safety on the expressways in July, it is a good idea to be familiar with strategies for driving in the rain that will improve your odds of arriving at your destination without a car accident occurring.
National statistics indicate that wet roadways play a role in approximately 1.2 million car crashes every year. Many of those incidents happen in Illinois where the weather tends to be wet and our streets congested with vehicles. The best thing you can do is to remain proactive and to take steps both before and during a rainstorm if your goal is to keep yourself and those around you safe.
First, make sure the tires that are on your vehicle are appropriate. Tires are designed to last only for a limited time and often are judged based on the number of miles they have driven. An expert who deals in tires can examine yours and determine whether their structural integrity remains intact, whether enough tread is present to keep you safe, or whether your tires need to be serviced or replaced. Maintaining your tires can help you slow and stop in wet conditions and can reduce the incident of a rear-end collision.
If you are driving when rain begins to fall, decrease your speed and slow down. The voracity of the rain may determine how much you need to slow your vehicle but at a minimum, decrease your speed five miles per hour until conditions improve. Leave a greater distance between your vehicle and the cars in front of you so that you can have more time and space to stop if necessary. A slower moving vehicle is less likely to strike others and is also less likely to hydroplane if you encounter standing water on the road, reducing your risk of losing control behind the wheel and running off the road’s surface.
If your car begins to slip or skid when you encounter water, it is critically important to keep your focus and to refrain from panicking. Instead, steer your vehicle in the direction in which you want to travel and do not brake aggressively. While it might be instinctual to attempt to stop your car or steer directly away from the skid, the best thing you can do is to regain control by moving forward and maintaining your lane of transit.
Finally, know that cruise control can do more harm than good during wet conditions. Driving on cruise may make it more likely for a motorist to skid, hydroplane, or lose control so stay off of cruise control and instead adjust your speed in consideration with the changing weather.
While weather is a contributing factor to a large number of Chicago-area collisions, it is rarely the sole factor as mistakes by motorists tend to contribute as well. When those accidents cause injuries, it is important for the victims to know that they may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages.
Prior Blog Entry:
With So Many Bicycle Lanes, Why are there Bike Crashes in Chicago?, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 19, 2016.