Certain parts of the country are notorious for extreme weather as the seasons change. For example, winter made an early entrance in Illinois with a snowstorm on Halloween this year. When roads become slick with ice and snow, drivers need to adjust their driving habits accordingly. It takes motorists longer to stop with any precipitation on the pavement. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, severe weather is a factor in almost 500,000 crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths each winter.
If drivers are distracted or choose to speed despite the conditions, this behavior can have significant consequences, including serious car accidents. These crashes can involve minor to fatal injuries. In some cases, the collision could have been avoided if it were not for another driver’s negligent behavior.
Steps to Take Behind the Wheel in Bad Weather
Although driving in the winter should include common sense, such as slowing down, some people disregard the weather conditions and still drive like the roads are clear and dry even when they are slick and icy.
Here are a few reminders and tips for driving in inclement weather:
- Stay home or delay your trip if possible.
- Make sure your brakes are working properly.
- Maintain adequate tire pressure and tread.
- Fill your car with a full tank of gas before embarking on a trip.
- Reduce your speed.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Increase your following distance.
- Do not stop while going up a hill.
- Do not use cruise control when traveling on icy or snowy roads.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle (flashlight, blanket, water, etc.).
Who Is to Blame for Weather-Related Accidents?
Negligence is generally defined as the failure to use reasonable care. It can sometimes be difficult to prove negligence in causing a car accident under adverse conditions. A driver’s failure to follow the rules of the road can be considered negligence. For example, if the other motorist is found to have been intoxicated and that caused him or her to hit your car, he or she will likely be found at fault. In some scenarios, both drivers may share the blame for causing a crash. “Comparative negligence” refers to when a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by a percentage equal to his or her share of fault. If the plaintiff’s blame is more than 50 percent, however, he or she cannot recover damages at all.
Contact a Joliet Personal Injury Attorney
Driving in the winter is different than driving during the summertime. Motorists should be aware of this when hitting the road for the busy holiday travel seasons. Drivers who are speeding or distracted can cause serious to fatal crashes. If you or your loved one was hurt in a vehicle collision, you may be entitled to compensation if it was due to another driver’s negligence. That is why you should discuss your case with a Will County car accident lawyer at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 815-727-0100.