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Winter driving requires more than just slowing down

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Although soft white snow may provide a beautiful backdrop to a Chicago afternoon, it can wreak havoc for traveling motorists. The snow, ice and fog can make for slippery and dangerous roadways, a fact known by a car accident attorney in Illinois. Bad weather also makes it difficult for drivers to see, slows traffic flow and decreases vehicles’ performance capabilities.

Some drivers are in such a rush, they forget to slow down and fail to take the proper precautions needed to prevent a serious car accident. Other drivers believe that they are safe as long as they reduce their speed. While driving slower does reduce a motorist’s risk for slipping and sliding, drivers who implement safe driving strategies into their winter driving routine can maximize their safety on the road.

Cold weather tires

Not all tires are designed to perform well in cold weather, according to AccuWeather.com. The dynamics of all-season tires can change in cold temperatures. Winter tires, on the other hand, adapt to temperature changes and tend to grip the road better than all-season tires. This malleability allows them to cut through snow and avoid skidding on ice.

Experts also urge motorists to check their tire pressure when it gets cold outside. For every 10 degrees that the temperature drops, tires lose approximately one pound of air pressure. Car owners should make sure that their tire pressure matches that suggested by the vehicle’s manufacturer in order to avoid damaging the tires.

Additional winter driving tips

In addition to driving cautiously and slowly on good tires, motorists should do the following, according to the Snow and Ice Management Association:

  • Apply the brakes and gas slowly
  • Leave plenty of space between cars
  • Clear all of the snow off the car before driving
  • Make sure the windshield wipers are in good, working order

A car accident attorney in Illinois notes that it is also beneficial to have an emergency kit in the car. This might include warm clothes, blankets, food, water and first-aid items.

The dangers of snow and ice

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Road Weather Management Program, snowy and icy roads are responsible for 24 percent of winter motor vehicle accidents. These collisions contribute to more than 116,300 injuries and over 1,300 deaths across the country each year.

Hazardous winter weather can lead to devastating traffic accidents and catastrophic injuries. Some injuries may cause severe and long-lasting damage, such as traumatic brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord damage and limb amputations. People who have been involved in a tragic collision and were injured or lost a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence may seek compensation through a car accident attorney in Illinois.