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Hot chocolate, twinkling holiday lights and wearing comfortable sweaters are what most people associate with winter weather. However, when temperatures drop not everything about this season is enjoyable, particularly for drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there are 6,301,000 vehicle accidents every year. While car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, approximately 24 percent of these accidents occur due to adverse weather conditions like snow, sleet and ice.

The hazards of winter driving

In states like Illinois where winter weather brings cold temperatures, snow and freezing rain, conditions can wreak havoc on the highways. One of the main culprits of the increased number of accidents during winter weather is due to ice on the roads. When ice forms on the surface of roadways, it prevents a vehicle's tires from getting good grip on the road and also makes it more difficult to stop and steer.

Recently, a winter snow-storm in early December caused the roads on Illinois' highways to become slippery and unsafe resulting in an increased number of vehicle accidents. The Illinois police reported several weather-related crashes and the state sent out 300 salt trucks and plows in order to keep the state's highways and roads as clear and safe as possible.

However, conditions in Illinois as a result of this storm were not nearly as treacherous as they were a little bit further North in Wisconsin. According to ABC 7, there were approximately 50 injured motorists in two separate multi-vehicle pileups that occurred on one of the state's highways. As a result of poor visibility and road conditions, one of these crashes involved 37 vehicles and 11 semi-trucks with cars swerving in every direction and into ditches.

Stay safe on the roads this season

This season, decrease your chances of getting into an accident on icy or snow roads by:

  • Making sure that your tires are always properly inflated.
  • Not driving fatigued and getting enough rest before long trips.
  • Never mixing radial tires with other types of tires.
  • Never using cruise control when driving on a wet or snowy road.
  • Looking and steering in the direction that you want to go.
  • Always wearing your seatbelt whenever you get into a vehicle.

However, even if you know how to drive in the snow and take proper safety precautions, other drivers may not. If you were injured in a vehicle accident on one of Illinois' highways during a winter storm due to the negligence of another driver, contact an attorney that can protect your rights for proper compensation.

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