Winter Weather Travel and Avoidable Personal Injuries

AAA estimates that the U.S. will see about 112.7 million people travel 50 miles or more this holiday season from December 23 to January 2. This is the largest increase since the pandemic and will be the third highest number of drivers on the  road.  Here in Illinois, about 5.8 million are projected to continue to travel during the holiday season.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys have observed based on the calls we receive that many people do not slow down despite the weather conditions.  The rules of the road require all drivers to maintain reasonable speed, and often the speed limit may not be reasonable if the weather conditions are difficult.

Unfortunately, as many people geared up to travel across the country, we experienced some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had during a Christmas since 1983. Many people’s holiday travel plans were impacted by the weather. The snow, ice, frigid temperatures and wind gusts up to 45mph made traveling particularly difficult for those who attempted to get on the roads and travel. Although snow measurements were relatively low in the Chicago area, winds made visibility poor, as the winds picked up snow and carried it across the roads. The extreme weather made roads and bridges slicked and accident prone.

As winter is just getting underway, we can expect to have more days of frigid temperatures and poor weather conditions. At personal injury law firm Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. we encourage drivers to take the necessary precautions to drive safely, which may even mean not hitting the roads based on the weather conditions.

When the weather can pose a problem, the National Weather Service issues specific statements regarding the weather and advising the public on how to act. It’s important to pay attention and listen when these statements are issued to plan accordingly. To do that though we must understand what the different type of statements are and what they mean.

During winter the National Weather Service may issue a watch, an advisory, or a warning. A Winter Storm Watch will be issued before a storm arrives and gives the public notice that a hazardous winter storm event is likely to occur, but certain factors are still uncertain about the storm such as the exact location and timing. A Winter Storm Watch may then be upgraded to a Winter Advisory or Warning. A Winter Storm Advisory is when the weather conditions create significant inconvenience and if caution is not used could lead to the threat of life or property. Traveling may be difficult during an Advisory. Winter Weather Advisories can be a combination of any of the following elements: 3 to 6 inches of snow, light ice or sleet accumulation, and significant visibility reduction. If the conditions are severe enough an Advisory may be upgraded to a Warning. A Winter Storm Warning is when the weather elements pose a threat to life or property and travel is difficult to impossible. A Winter Storm Warning can be any of the following or combination of the following: snow accumulation of 6 inches or more in 12 hours, 8 inches of snow or more in 24 hours, heavy sleet or one-half inch or greater of sleet is expected, and wind.

So next time the weather conditions become noticeably listen to how the National Weather Service announces and classifies the weather event. And if the event is considered a Winter Storm Warning its best to follow the warning outline since the safest measure you can take is by not getting on the roads at all. Here, at Zneimer & Zneimer, we hope that Valentine’s Day finds you well and that you have safe travels, but if you do find yourself injured in an accident give our law firm a call.

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