Driving at night during winter months in Illinois poses major risks for collisions and injuries. Driving conditions such as darkness, snow, ice, potholes, and frozen slush on your windshield and headlights have an impact on your safety.
The National Safety Council reports that traffic fatalities are three times greater at night. While road conditions and drowsy drivers play a role, decreased visibility is the main culprit. Add this to the stress, impatience, and general irritability from the pandemic and you have an increase in driving accidents. It’s almost a perfect storm.
As a car accident attorney, every day I am personally involved in fighting for those who are injured as a result of the negligence of others. Automobile accidents and injuries resulting from limited visibility and other dangers hidden by darkness can be severe.
Below are three winter driving tips to help you better protect yourself while driving during winter nights in Chicago.
How to Stay Safe While Driving During the Winter Months
1) Prepare Your Body.
Our internal clock tells us to sleep when it’s dark. Since darkness signals a natural inclination to sleep, we become more prone to drowsy driving in our evening travels. Even the fittest among us need more sleep during the cold weather months.
In addition, eat lighter lunches and limit late afternoon snacks that slow your metabolism. We need to be more alert.
2) Prepare Your Vehicle.
Refresh your vehicle by cleaning your headlights, windows, taillights, and signal lights. The first of the year is a great time to replace your windshield wiper blades. Be sure to refill your windshield washer fluid reservoir as well.
Make sure your car is in good working order. This is a good time to switch to all-weather or snow tires. A well-prepared car will help keep you out of trouble on the road in winter weather.
3) Drive Defensively.
Darkness limits your reaction time. You need to be more alert and leave more space to respond to other drivers, road hazards, and road conditions. The two-car length rule (keeping two car lengths between you and the car in front of you) is a good one for defensive driving.
Nighttime driving is also impacted by your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision, all of which decrease after sundown. Furthermore, it gets worse when wet roads create a dirty spray from trucks and other vehicles that lands on your windshield and headlights. Shadows from street lights can be deceiving.
Slow down for flashing lights and road crews clearing snow, assisting stalled vehicles, or clearing debris on the side of the road. Sometimes lane markers are difficult to see with snow and slush.Watch for the car next to you drifting into your lane. And, watch for your own drift.
Know when to use your low-beam and high-beam headlights. High beams are necessary to see over 350 feet ahead. Of course, always dim your high beams when following another driver or approaching an oncoming car.
Limit distractions. Changing a radio station, reaching for a cup, or hearing your cellphone ring can take your eyes and mind off the road.
Buckle up. Use your turn signals. Check your mirrors for emergency vehicles. Watch for animals on the road – deer and other critters are most active at night.
Be smart and drive safely this winter.
Chicago Auto Accident Attorneys. We Help Victims.
The attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner are knowledgeable and expert in representing those harmed in a car crash by the negligence or carelessness of others. Automobile accidents can be complex and multi-dimensional. We know your rights and the applicable laws. We are your advocates.
Big insurance companies rely on professional adjusters to negotiate. In order to deal with these professionals, you need a skilled attorney to protect your rights. We are experts at negotiating with powerful insurance companies. 50 years of experience counts.
The attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering compensation for you while you and your family concentrate on physical and emotional recovery.