It’s safe to say that recent weather conditions have been extreme in and around Chicago, which means auto accidents are more likely than normal. Roads are flooded, rainfall records are being broken, and more storms are in the forecast, so it’s essential to make sure you stay safe when you’re on the roads. Our top priority is always your safety and security, so we’ve put together our top 5 tips for avoiding car accidents in extreme weather.
1. Perform Preventative Auto Maintenance
Make sure your vehicle is ready for rough road conditions! Find the time to swing by your preferred mechanic and have them do a thorough brake check, vehicle inspection, and top off your vehicle’s fluids. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated and that you have plenty of tread remaining. It’s especially important to make sure your windshield wipers are in great condition! With storms like we’ve been having, effective wipers are simply a must. Not only is it dangerous to drive if your car isn’t well-maintained, it makes you more likely to cause an accident and opens you up to legal jeopardy!
2. Drive with Caution
Your driving should match the weather. If you can barely see through the windshield, then slow down! Keep both hands firmly on the wheel and make sure your phone is put away and can’t distract you. If you have to take a call, make sure you use a hands-free option. Driving while holding a phone to your ear is hazardous (and illegal) in all weather conditions, but particularly in weather like this! Follow the law and common sense by driving distraction-free and especially carefully in heavy storms or around flooded areas.
3. Be Prepared!
Be ready for anything! Make sure your vehicle is well-stocked with food, water, blankets, jumper cables, an inflated spare tire, and flares or emergency lighting. If flood waters strand you or cause an accident, it’s better to be prepared in case help takes a long time to arrive. There are more traffic accidents occurring than normal, so keep in mind that emergency responders may take a longer time than usual to arrive on the scene.
4. Plan Your Route Ahead
Check driving conditions ahead of time. Before you get behind the wheel, check road conditions online and plan routes that avoid flooded areas or lots of traffic. With the roads this wet, it takes longer to stop than normal, so heavy congestion can lead to huge traffic accidents. There’s always plenty of construction out there, and the combination of road work and heavy storms can be a recipe for dangerous car pile ups.
5. Get Help If You Are in an Accident
Add Kryder Law Group as a contact on your phone. Car accidents are incredibly stressful and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you’re dealing with emergency responders and other drivers in a pounding storm. Add (312) 223-1700 to your phone now, and if the unexpected happens, you can contact us right away. We always offer free consultations and are standing by to help with any questions you have related to injuries that might result from car crashes.
6. Pack a Roadside Emergency Kit
Every car should have a roadside emergency kit. The kit should contain things that you need to address the most common emergencies. Start with tire replacement supplies like spare lug nuts and an extra crossbar. Warning signals, like reflector triangles or small road flares, are a good idea as well since they will help you prevent another accident. Your kit should also include a phone charger, non-perishable food items, and at least one blanket. Although rare, accidents that leave you out in the middle of nowhere can be very dangerous. Having a way of recharging your cell phone will let you call for help, and the food and blanket will make it easier to wait for help.
For a free legal consultation, call (312) 598-0739
7. Avoid Unnecessary Drives
One way to prevent accidents in extreme weather is to avoid unnecessary drivers. If you are not on the road, then you cannot get into an accident. Limit your driving to the absolute essential trips by preparing for inclement weather ahead of time. Stock up on food that will last and other supplies to last at least one week. This will keep you from making emergency trips to the store until the weather clears.
8. Know Local Driving Laws
While driving laws can be universal, that is not always the case. For example, some countries drive on the left side of the road while others drive on the right. You can avoid simple mistakes, like driving on the wrong side of the road, by knowing local driving laws. Many people make simple mistakes because driving laws and practices change as they go from one place to the next. Before you get on the road, check the local laws for the areas that you are planning to drive through so that you can adjust accordingly.
9. Turn On Your Lights
While many people know to turn on their lights at night, you can also turn on your lights during the day. Most new cars are equipped with running lights or daytime lights that increase your visibility significantly. By making yourself more visible, you decrease your chance of being in an accident. If your car has an automatic light system, you should set it to automatic. This will let your car sense the light level outside and turn on the lights accordingly. This is an excellent feature to have since it will stop you from forgetting to turn your lights on at night as well.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
10. Don’t Use Cruise Control
Most cars come equipped with cruise control now, but it is not always safe to use. For cruise control to work, the road needs to be even and the weather should be clear. Cruise control monitors each wheel and makes adjustments to help maintain your speed. However, it cannot make adjustments to handle rain, show, or loose soil. That means that if the road is wet and your tires slip, it cannot compensate for that. You will likely spin out or slide off of the road by the time you turn cruise control off and regain control of the vehicle. If the weather is bad, turn your cruise control off and focus on maintaining an appropriate speed. You can use it again when the road conditions improve.
Driving around Chicago is never a breeze, but with record-breaking storms and no end in sight, there’s never been a more important time to drive safely. Stay safe out there!