While winter weather may be picturesque when sitting in the comforts and warmth of our own homes, it causes extremely dangerous conditions on our roadways. Drivers, especially when on busy roads like interstates, face many dangers during wintertime in Illinois. Snow can cause decreased visibility and slippery surfaces, and often leads to severe weather-related collisions.
A recent article by The Herald-News reported that a multiple vehicle crash occurred on Interstate 55 near Gardner. One of the individuals involved explained how he was looking out his passenger-side window to observe the semitrailer passing him on the right and then couldn’t see anything at all. Winter weather conditions created repeated areas of whiteouts on the roads. The individual also witnessed a semi-truck flip over on its side and skid along the road. His car was hit several times, but it was not safe to get out of the car to check on damage; behind them was a long chain of cars. According to the report this witness’ vehicle was the fourth or fifth car involved in a chain-reaction multiple vehicle crash. When the chain reaction occurred, cars then began in a domino-like fashion veering left and right off into ditches, which continued down the line of cars for some way.
The Illinois State Police has reported that at least 16 vehicles were involved in the accident, including a FedEx semitrailer. The chain reaction collision occurred at mile post 227 on I-55 south. The accident was so large that emergency responders were called in from several area municipalities. Several victims suffered serious and life-threatening injuries. One individual needed extraction from his vehicle. Emergency responders arrived to attend to 10 vehicles, but within minutes the chain reaction increased in number due to the low visibility conditions. Due to the conditions and the large number of vehicles involved, cars kept swerving into ditches to avoid the cluster of crashed cars already on the road, which then caused the number in the accident to continue to increase in number. The accident is still under investigation by authorities.
Drivers are urged by authorities to avoid roadways at all possible costs during extreme winter conditions. The Centers for Disease Control, drivers need to stay informed and aware about present and near future weather conditions so they can plan their travel accordingly. Through staying informed, drivers can know to stay home and avoid treacherous conditions, like low visibility. It is also best to avoid driving on ice-covered roads when possible. Additionally, when accidents do occur, your car’s heating may not operate. For that reason, always dress for the weather and keep your car stocked with extra winter weather apparel in order to remain warm until you can receive emergency help or get to safety.
Our attorneys also urge everyone to use their utmost caution when driving in winter weather and to refrain from driving if possible. When accidents do occur, especially as the result of another’s negligent driving, it is important that victims seek help from a legal professional to protect your right to seek justice and fair compensation for the harms caused to you.