Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Says Driver Error a Concern in Snowy, Icy Conditions

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As Illinois weather turns snowy, attorney Patrick A. Salvi of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. reminds victims of winter-weather accidents that negligent motorists can be held liable despite slick conditions.

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Chicago car accident attorney Patrick A. Salvi

Too many Illinois motorists were caught unprepared by the recent snow, causing hundreds of car crashes and emergency calls.

With a significant snowstorm just passed, and more winter weather predicted for Chicagoland in the coming days, it is an excellent time to prepare for driving in slick and snowy conditions, Chicago car accident attorney Patrick A. Salvi said today.

During the weekend of January 19-21, much of the Chicago area saw a half-foot or more of snow, causing at least 40 traffic accidents with injuries or damaged vehicles requiring a tow, according a WGN report. Possible heavy snow could hit the area towards the end of this week, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Too many Illinois motorists were caught unprepared by the recent snow, causing hundreds of car crashes and emergency calls,” said Salvi, the managing equity partner of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., an Illinois personal injury law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan.

The firm provides legal representation to car accident victims and those who have lost family members to automobile crashes across Illinois, including residents of Cook and Lake counties.

“Although the snow didn’t lead to as many traffic problems as previous blizzards that we have experienced, there are still things all drivers can do to make traveling even safer the next time winter weather hits,” Salvi said.

To avoid a weather-related auto accident during the coming snow, Salvi pointed to these safe winter driving tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  •     Slow down.
  •     Brake and accelerate gently and avoid making sudden steering adjustments. If your car has anti-lock brakes, apply firm, steady pressure to stop. Drivers without anti-lock brakes should pump the pedal gently.
  •     Leave more time to get to your destination so you don’t have to rush, or consider postponing your trip until conditions improve.
  •     Inspect your tires for sufficient tread and proper inflation. Use snow tires if possible.
  •     Make sure your lights, windshield wipers and defrosters work properly, and fill your reservoir with plenty of no-freeze washer fluid.
  •     Stock your vehicle with a snow shovel, ice scraper and broom. Carry kitty litter or other abrasive materials for traction if you get stuck.
  •     Familiarize yourself with how your car performs in the snow by practicing in an empty parking lot.
  •     If you begin to skid, ease your foot off of the gas pedal while gently steering into the direction you want the car to go. Stay off of the gas and brake pedals until you regain control of the car.
  •     Avoid distractions such as cell phones, stereos and other electronic devices.

Salvi emphasized that, while winter weather can be a contributing factor in auto accidents, it remains the driver’s responsibility to maintain control over his or her vehicle — even in slick and snowy conditions.

“Virtually all winter-weather car crashes are the result of one thing: driver negligence. Most often the cause of a snowy wreck is driving too fast for conditions,” Salvi said.

Motorists who have the misfortune of suffering an auto accident during foul weather should seek legal counsel from a qualified Illinois personal injury attorney, he said.

“Hopefully, all Chicago motorists will drive prudently this winter and arrive safe at their destinations. For the unfortunate motorists who fall victim to someone else’s negligent winter driving, keep in mind that compensation could be available even if snow and ice contributed to the crash,” Salvi said.

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Illinois personal injury law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. In addition to representing clients in catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, aviation and product liability cases, the firm focuses on car and truck accidents, airplane and train accidents, construction injuries, birth injuries, brain injuries, unsafe properties and animal attacks. The firm has obtained more than $620 million on behalf of its clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including 175 multimillion-dollar verdicts or settlements. For more information, call (312) 372-1227 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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