Personal Injury Lawyers

Ice, Blamed for Fatal Chicago Crash, Closes Expressway

The first snow of the season, along with a deceiving layer of black ice, was reportedly responsible for a "ton" of crashes in Chicago in a single night, according to police.

The Chicago Tribune reported a total of 17 crashes on toll roads in Cook County, including one fatal crash on the expressway, just west of Gary Avenue.

Our Chicago car accident lawyers know that as we head into the holiday season, with more travelers and worse weather, we can expect more of the same.

In fact, it was so bad on a recent day that parts of the expressway had to be shut down because of the ice. Troopers wanted to get the word out to people to slow down, particularly when they are passing accidents or when there are vehicles parked or disabled on the side of the road.

Even police officers and troopers - with their emergency lights flashing - said multiple times, they were put at risk by passing vehicles.

Winter holidays are some of the most dangerous times to drive. Part of it has to do with the fact that more people are on the road, traveling to see loved ones. People also may be drinking at parties and driving. But another major factor is that the road conditions can be terrible this time of year - and you can't always count on troopers to shut down every road that poses a danger.

Most Chicagoans are familiar with driving in wintry weather, but just in case, here are a few things to keep in mind if you encounter cold, snowy or icy conditions:

  • Make sure you have adequate traction on your tires. That means a tread of at least 6/32 inches. Most new passenger car tires are 10/32 inches. That's even better. Realize that even ultra-high performance "summer" tires often have little or no grip at all in snow.
  • Make certain that you can see. Replace your windshield wiper blades if needed and make sure you have enough washer fluid and anti-icing fluid. Apply a coat of water-shedding material, like Rain-X, to the outside of your windows and mirrors.
  • Run the air conditioner in order to help remove condensation and frost from the interior of your windows. Select the fresh air option. A lot of cars do this automatically, but keep this in mind in case yours does not.
  • Watch out for "black ice." This was at the root of the fatal crash. Black ice will look as if the road is simply slick, but it's actually ice, which can be far more treacherous. Test your traction on the surface with a smooth brake application and a slight turn of your wheel.
  • Understand that bridges, overpasses or any area near bodies of water are more prone to develop a layer of ice first.
  • Give yourself plenty of time - and space. When you're on ice, it's going to take longer to brake, so you want to make sure to give yourself plenty of space from cars both in front of you and next to you. Additionally, allow yourself more time to get to wherever you are going. And if you are a few minutes late, accept that it's better than never getting there at all.

If you have been injured in a Chicago car accident, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.