Cars in traffic on snowy roads

Drive Safer in Chicago: A Winter Safety Guide

If you are a Chicago native or a new transplant, it's no secret that winters in the Windy City can be chaotic. With polar vortexes and early snowfall, the need to be a cautious and aware driver is ever-present. Whether you are heading out on the roads this holiday season or know people who are, here are our best tips for becoming a safer driver.

Winter Safety Tips

Prepare Your Vehicle

Your winter vehicle preparation may be starting earlier and earlier each year, but there are a few things you don't want to forget to check:

  • Tires. Make sure the treads aren't worn down and get them rotated if you haven't in awhile. Don't forget that cold weather can also affect your tire pressure, so air them up if they are getting low. You may also consider getting snow tires in case the weather gets particularly bad.
  • Oil and Antifreeze. Winter is the perfect time of year for a maintenance checkup. To keep your car running smoothly all season long, consider an oil change.
  • Battery. Routine maintenance is also a great time to have your battery fluid levels checked and eliminate any corrosion.
  • Brakes. With slick roads and low visibility, it is not uncommon for more accidents to be occurring this time of year. This is the time to double-check that your brakes are working properly.
  • Windshield Wipers. Make sure that they are working correctly and you have enough fluid for any snowy day.
  • Heater/Defroster. This is not the time of year to avoid getting your heater fixed.

Plan Ahead

While most winter activities have been canceled this year, if you need to leave the house at some point this season, don't forget to plan ahead. This can include checking road conditions and altering your route depending on the weather, letting loved ones know the way you are taking in case of an emergency, and being prepared with necessary supplies. You may also want to have an additional plan in place if you can’t return home for any reason.

Keep an Emergency Kit

Emergency kits can be life-saving if you get into an accident or are stranded somewhere in your vehicle when the weather gets severe. Here are a few essential things that you should be keeping on hand:

  • Warm clothing items (coat, hat, scarf, gloves) and a blanket
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water and nonperishable snacks
  • Flashlight with backup batteries and flares
  • Ice scraper
  • Cables
  • Portable phone charger

You may also want to consider keeping items like a box of matches, a compass, cash, and a Swiss Army Knife on hand in case of emergencies, and for extremely snowy days, sand or salt.

Drive Safely

When temperatures are below freezing and snow is coming down, the last thing you want to do is get into a car accident. Safe driving is imperative this time of year, so here are some tips for getting to where you want to go:

  • Keep a larger distance between you and the car in front of you to accommodate longer stopping times.
  • Be aware of any potholes or construction zones that may require more caution.
  • Keep an eye out for motorcyclists.
  • Drive slower than you would with normal road conditions and avoid rapidly braking.
  • Use your headlights or fog lights when there is low visibility.
  • Wear a seatbelt and make sure children are properly fastened into car seats.
  • Avoid distractions like talking on the phone, texting, eating, etc.

These are only some of the things you can be doing to keep yourself and others safer this winter. Above all else, proceed with caution and don’t hesitate to stay home if going out isn’t necessary,

Car Accident? Our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

The team at McNabola & Associates, LLC have been working to secure the rights of Chicago motorists for decades. If you or a loved one has gotten injured because of a car accident on Chicago roads, our team can help. Call (312) 888-8700 or visit our website to schedule your free consultation.