The holidays are the ideal time to take a longer trip to visit family. The children are out of school, you have at least one extra day off work, and everyone enjoys being together to exchange presents. When is there a better excuse to take that lengthy car ride to grandma and grandpas? Unfortunately, the winter weather can stand in your way of traveling over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house.
Whether it is because of the elements, poor maintenance on your vehicle, or other driver’s carelessness, you could find yourself in a car accident this holiday season. You might not be able to control the weather or other drivers on the road; however, there are steps you can take to prevent a collision this December.
If you are part of an accident, do not hesitate to ask for legal help. The Chicago accident lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. understand the complexities of winter-weather-related crashes and can help you recover from your injuries. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Tips to Prevent Car Accidents
If you are headed out on a long trip for the holidays this year, follow these tips to reduce the risk of an accident:
- Check your tire tread. You might not want to think about an extra expense around the holidays, but you may need new tires. If the tread on your tires is too low, you should purchase new tires before you go on a road trip. Tires with little tread will not offer the amount of traction you need to drive safely during winter weather.
- Measure your tire pressure. Cold weather can do a number on your tire pressure. You should keep an eye on your tires throughout the winter months, though it is particularly important to check your tire pressure before and during a long trip. When you expect to spend hours on the highway in various weather conditions, you need to know your tires are prepared to offer the ideal amount of traction. Tires with too little air lead to unnecessary wear, flats, and blowouts.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full. During a winter road trip, you never want to let your gas gauge get below the halfway mark. This may seem like an unnecessary amount of stopping for gas, however, you never want to get stuck in the snow on a low tank. (Your kids will probably need to use the bathroom anyway.) Additionally, if you get near empty and you make a pit stop, your vehicle may have a hard time starting again.
- Bring tools to dig yourself out . Although you may try to prevent getting stuck in the snow or mud, it could happen regardless of your precautions. Be prepared for any situation. You should have a shovel as well as some gravel, sand, or kitty litter to help you get unstuck. Try and remove snow from around your tires and in front of your vehicle, then put sand or litter around your tires to improve traction.
- Listen to the weather and traffic report. Your kids may want to listen to the latest Disney soundtrack or pop album, however, you need to be sure to check in with the weather, road conditions, and traffic during your trip. If you do not usually listen to radio reports, do some research and find the best stations for throughout your trip. Knowing about an approaching storm or massive accident can help you avoid hazards by giving you plenty of notice to deviate your route.
- Have polarized sunglasses handy . When you are driving between two open fields covered in brilliant white snow, sun glare can be a serious issue. Be sure to use your visor and wear polarized sunglasses to reduce the effect of the glare.
- Pack an emergency kit. It is highly unlikely that you will get stuck on the side of the road during a blizzard, however this is the worst case scenario you should prepare for. When you are prepping for a long trip, pack an emergency kit with first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, blankets, water, and snacks.
- Never drive too long. You should avoid driving while tired at all costs. If there is more than one driver in the car, switch spots every three to four hours. Make sure no one drives more than two shifts in a day. Also, stop and get a good night’s rest. It can be tempting to make an 18-hour trip in one day, however, it is much safer to spend two days traveling rather than to have anyone drowsy drive.
- Invest in a portable battery charger for your phone . Normally, you can charge your phone while you drive. What happens if your car dies? You should bring a fully charged portable battery pack so you can always have your cell phone available in case of an emergency.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
If you are in an accident during your holiday road trip, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away. We can handle the insurance claim process for you, accurately filling out and filing the paperwork and negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf. If an insurance settlement is not possible despite another driver being responsible for your injuries, we can represent you in a personal injury claim.
Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.