Since 2006, more than 286,919 winter accidents have occurred in Illinois, and snowy, icy or slushy roads cause accidents that kill more than 1,000 people per year. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most dangerous on roadways.

If you are like most individuals, you cannot avoid driving during the winter. However, you can learn about winter driving hazards and ways to avoid them.

Reduced or poor visibility

External conditions, such as driving during a snowstorm or passing vehicles flinging snow into your windshield, can significantly impact your visibility during the winter.

In addition, if you do not completely scrape the ice and snow from all of your windows and mirrors and remove the snow from your trunk and hood, you may create blind spots or blowing snow that can impact your visibility. Cold temperatures can also cause condensation to gather on your windows, so have your heater and defroster checked before winter.

Ice on the roads

Black and surface ice are difficult to see and prevent your vehicle from gaining traction, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Even when the temperature rises, ice can remain on the road, but it may look wet rather than icy, which is more dangerous.

Therefore, plan your route, reduce your driving speed and put additional space between you and other vehicles on the road.

Cold temperatures

As temperatures dip below freezing, car trouble can leave you stranded. Therefore, pack an emergency kit that includes blankets, water, snacks, flares, dry clothing, a candle and a flashlight. You may even include snow chains.

To encourage safe winter driving, prepare your vehicle by having your brakes, battery, tires, exhaust, lights and heating checked. Also, consider replacing your windshield wiper blades and getting your oil and antifreeze changed.

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