Winter weather has definitely arrived in Illinois. We may have not had a white Christmas, but now snow can be seen throughout much of the state, and the cold temperatures have come with it. However, with winter weather comes more hazards on the roadways. Snow and ice make the roads more dangerous by causing slippery and wet surfaces, so it is imperative that drivers take extra caution in these conditions. Otherwise, serious accidents can occur.
According to one article by the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, icy road conditions recently caused a truck accident near the southern exit in Mattoon on Interstate 57. A pickup truck struck a guardrail and overturned. According to Illinois State Police, the driver lost control of his truck after hitting a patch of black ice on the bridge deck. The truck then crossed the center median, hit the guardrail, and overturned.
Black ice is a significant hazard present during the cold temperatures in winter. One of the biggest dangers of black ice, according to AccuWeather, is that it is not only slippery but hard to spot. Black ice gets its name from its ability to blend in; it tends to look like the rest of the pavement on the road because it is clear. Black ice forms when the air is at 32 degrees or below at the surface and rain is falling. The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, creating ice. Additionally, sleet and the refreezing after melt of snow or water can also create black ice. The prime times for the development of black ice are around dawn and in late evening. This is when temperatures tend to be their lowest. Additionally, the most common locations for black ice to form are shaded or tree-covered parts of roads due to the lack of light, and on bridges and overpasses because of the ability for water to freeze quickly in these locations.
When driving on black ice it is important to remember not to hit the brakes but instead keep your steering wheel steady. Also lift your foot off of the accelerator. Furthermore, do not overcorrect your steering if your car begins to slide.
The same article by AccuWeather suggests using your cars thermometer to aid when to be on the lookout for black ice. As an initial gauge, it can help determine the road conditions. As a digital thermometer, the car thermometer works to find the air’s ambient temperature. If the thermometer says it is close to freezing, a driver should be extra cautious on the roads for black ice. However, a car thermometer should not be the absolute authority on hazardous conditions, and drivers should exercise extra caution during wintertime and in freezing and/or snowy conditions.
In this accident, thankfully no one else was injured, but this can easily occur in truck accidents, especially in inclement weather. Our lawyers emphasize that all drivers have a responsibility to drive safely when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drivers have a legal duty of care to others on the roads to not drive negligently or recklessly and cause harm to others. Where drivers fail to do so, and an accident results, a court may find that that driver breached their legal duty and is liable for damages for personal injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and emotional suffering. If winter weather and the negligent driving of another puts you in an accident, we are here to listen to you and help. Call us for a free consultation, and we would be happy to discuss your potential case with you.