Our Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys at SJ Injury Law are all too familiar with the severe auto accidents in our region. These accidents tend to increase in number and severity as winter takes hold. The tips in this article about items to have in your car this winter can help if an accident occurs. If you believe another party caused your car accident, call our Arlington Heights car accident attorney today for legal advice. Just call (847) 434-3555 for an appointment.
When ice, snow, and cold weather move into the Chicago area, the prudent driver is prepared for hazardous driving conditions and potential breakdowns. The following items can be helpful if you are driving in slick weather this winter. If you get into an accident, make sure you call an ambulance if there are serious injuries. Then, talk to our Arlington Heights personal injury attorney at SJ Injury Law. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
A sturdy ice scraper in your car is necessary to keep the windshield and windows clear of snow and ice. When using your scraper, do not merely clean the windshield; driving with obscured vision out of the side and rear windows is dangerous. Ensure all windows are clear of ice and snow for the most visibility.
Remember, if you have limited visibility and get into an accident, you could be found partially at fault. Even if the other driver may have caused the accident, the Illinois comparative negligence laws can come into play when you did something to contribute to the accident.
Cold, Chicago weather is tough on everyone and everything, including your car battery. If your car battery is old, cold temperatures could be enough to leave it dead when needed. Keep jumper cables in the trunk to jump-start your vehicle if needed. If you do not know how to jump your car, call AAA or a mechanic to help.
Also, take your vehicle to a car parts store or mechanic every fall to have the battery checked. You can avoid being stranded in cold weather if you just replace that battery before it fails.
Sometimes our cell phone is not charged when we need it most. If you are stuck in the snow and cold this winter, you will want to ensure that your cell phone has plenty of power. You can keep extra batteries in your car, or put a small ‘brick’ charger in your trunk. One of these phone chargers can hold anywhere from one to four charges, but make sure that you check it every month and keep it fully charged.
The last thing you want is to be stuck in the snow at night without a flashlight. Yes, you can use your cell phone light, but having a larger flashlight and extra batteries in the trunk is better. Having a flashlight is also essential to ensure you are visible to other drivers if you need to walk for help.
Have any old blankets in your home? You should stick one in your trunk right away. If you get stuck in the snow, you could run out of gas and be unable to keep the heat running. If that happens, you will get cold quickly in chilly weather. You also can use the blanket to wrap yourself to stay warm if you need to walk for assistance.
When Mother Nature dumps ice and snow on the Chicago region, it is wise to have some inexpensive traction in the trunk. Keep a small container of kitty litter in the vehicle to get added traction when needed. Just sprinkle a few handfuls of kitty litter behind the wheels to get you unstuck.
If stranded in the snow, you could have to wait a while for assistance. If the weather is severe enough, the wait could be hours or even a day or more. Keeping non-perishable food and water in the vehicle will be helpful in this situation. For example, you could keep bottled water and granola bars in the trunk.
You hope you will not need it, but you could need a first aid kit if you are in an accident and first responders are unavailable. Your kit should have bandages, pain reliever, gauze, disinfectant, and scissors.
There are other things to remember to keep you and your family safe when driving this winter:
Imagine being stuck in snowy weather with the temperature plunging toward zero. At this time, you do not want to worry about running out of gas. You should ensure your gas tank is nearly complete every time you leave home in the winter.
If you are in a part of the region with a lot of snow and ice in the winter, having snow tires on your vehicle can benefit you. Snow tires provide additional traction over all-season tires in wintry weather.
If you cannot or do not want to purchase snow tires, just ensure your all-season tires have plenty of tread. Few things are more dangerous than driving on slippery roads with bald tires. It is never a good idea to save money by driving on old tires.
You should start every winter with a new set of wiper blades. These inexpensive but essential tools can help you avoid a car accident. After all, being able to see the road is the most important thing when driving your car. Most oil change shops will do it if you have difficulty putting blades on.
The items mentioned in this article can help if you are stuck or in an accident. But how about staying out of the accident to begin with? Here are some tips to avoid accidents this winter:
Anything that distracts you from driving increases the chances of an accident. Cell phones, radio, conversations with other passengers, and eating and drinking are all things to avoid when driving, especially in bad weather. When driving in ice and snow, stay focused on your driving to prevent accidents. All it takes is to glance at your text messages; you can be in an accident on slick roads.
A common cause of winter accidents is when drivers apply the brakes too much. Even with anti-lock brakes in virtually every American vehicle, you can still lose control in bad weather with a heavy brake foot. Any abrupt movement on slick roads can cause weight to transfer and can lead to a loss of control.
You can reduce the chances of skidding or sliding by using light force on the brake pedal. If you have a manual transmission, avoid harsh downshifts so you do not skid.
Air in your tires contracts in cold weather, so it is common for tires to lose pressure in the winter. Underinflated tires can reduce vehicle control, so check your tire pressure weekly. When your tires are at their recommended pressures, your vehicle will handle best and offer superior traction.
In normal weather, leaving about three seconds between you and the next vehicle is a good rule of thumb. But when the roads are slippery, you should increase the following distances to approximately six seconds. This will allow you more time to slow down or change direction if the car in front slows suddenly.
If another driver is tailgating you, you should go into another lane, not slam on your brakes in frustration. The key to safe winter driving is to take things slow and easy.
Cruise control is often helpful on long highway drives but should not be used when driving in ice or snow. If your vehicle skids when cruise control is on, the vehicle may continue to accelerate as the car slides. This is hazardous, so you should only use cruise control on dry roads.
Driving at or under the speed limit makes many winter car accidents easily avoidable. The moment you see wet, snowy, or icy weather, immediately decrease your speed and drive more cautiously. Even better: Get off the roads until the roads are clear and dry again.
If you keep the abovementioned items in your vehicle and follow our safe driving tips, you will be better prepared in winter weather. However, if you suffered a severe auto accident injury in Illinois despite your best efforts this winter, you need immediate legal assistance.
You should never allow the negligent party to escape their liability. After all, they caused your damages, so they should pay and make you whole. For more information, contact our Arlington Heights personal injury attorney at SJ Injury Law at (847) 434-3555. Our attorneys have years of serious personal injury claim experience and will fight for your legal rights.
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