As winter’s icy grip tightens its hold on the Windy City, residents of Chicago find themselves grappling with a unique set of challenges. This is particularly evident when navigating treacherous road conditions caused by severe winter weather. As a resident, it helps to familiarize yourself with the specific dangers associated with winter driving — particularly the insidious threat of black ice.
Black ice, often referred to as invisible ice, is a thin layer of ice that forms on roadways, rendering it nearly impossible to detect. This hazard is prevalent during severe winter weather. Black ice forms when the ground temperature is below freezing, causing any precipitation to freeze upon contact with surfaces. Unlike snow or slush, black ice provides no visual cues, making it an unexpected danger for drivers.
Traffic accidents caused by black ice
The slippery nature of black ice contributes to a spike in traffic accidents, especially during winter storms. Vehicles may lose traction, leading to a higher likelihood of collisions, spin-outs and pile-ups on the icy roads. For this reason, navigating roads affected by black ice requires heightened caution. If you have to leave the comfort of your home this winter, reduce your usual driving speed, increase your following distance and avoid sudden maneuvers to minimize the risk of accidents.
Who is responsible for winter weather accidents?
In cases where accidents result from poorly maintained roads, government entities and contractors responsible for road preparation may be held accountable. Failure to adequately address winter weather conditions can lead to dangerous driving conditions. Determining liability may involve proving that a government entity or contractor was negligent in preparing the roads for winter weather. This may include insufficient salt application, delayed snow removal or inadequate warning signs about hazardous conditions.
Your rights after a winter weather accident
You should promptly file an insurance claim if you’ve suffered damages due to a winter weather-related accident. Insurance policies may cover vehicle repairs, medical expenses and other related costs. For more complex cases involving government entities or contractors, seeking legal assistance is crucial. A legal practitioner can guide you through the process of determining liability and pursuing compensation for damages.
As winter’s icy embrace continues to challenge Chicago residents on the road, awareness and caution are paramount. Suppose you get involved in an accident because of the dicey road conditions. In that case, seeking legal help as soon as possible can help establish who is liable for your damages.