The Dangers of Chicago Winters

Berry Mathew

The Dangers of Chicago Winters

Chicago winters have a reputation for being some of the worst in the country, with harsh winds, heavy snow, and shockingly low temperatures. Chicago natives know the best way to survive the season is to bundle up tight in a long, heavy coat, a scarf, a hat, and mittens–or to stay in with a nice, hot cup of cocoa and avoid the cold weather altogether! Of course, if you’re new to the area, or just visiting from out of state, then you might not know what to expect. The winter weather can cause hazardous conditions throughout the city that you should be aware of before you try to brave the cold. Being informed and prepared can save you from suffering misfortune at the hands of Jack Frost.

Unplanned Ice Skating

After a big storm, or a massive, city-wide freeze, it can be difficult for city officials to keep up with maintaining the roads, sidewalks, and public stairs. As a result, some spots could be icier than others and have the potential to be serious safety hazards, including a heightened risk for slip and fall accidents. It can be difficult to get proper retribution from the city if you are injured due to their failure to properly maintain public walkways, but your chances of winning your case will be a lot better if you do your research and find an experienced slip and fall lawyer. In addition to the city, business owners also have a responsibility to maintain the space in front of their doors, especially if they have a recessed entryway. Business owners should clear away any snow and throw down salt to melt any ice that might have accumulated in front of their entrances. They should post signs to want you of any hazards, like the risk of falling ice, or any spots that might still be a little slick. If businesses fail to take the proper measures to ensure the safety of any potential patrons, they could be held liable for any injuries that are sustained as a result of their negligence and could be forced to pay for any medical bills or additional damages.

Crashing Through The Snow

It’s no secret that harsh winter weather can cause unsafe road conditions by limiting driver visibility through heavy snow and wind or by lessening vehicle traction due to excessive snow or ice. Both of these lower drivers’ reaction times and increase the likelihood of crashes occurring. To reduce your risk of being involved in a crash, you must do all you can to be proactive and take precautionary measures to combat the harsh winter conditions. The first step to readying yourself is selecting the right car. Sure, if you live in the city, you might not think the type of car you get matters all that much since public transportation is so readily available. It’s likely that, because of this, you’re only looking for a car to use for short weekend trips out of the city. The thing is, winter in Chicago lasts from December through March–that’s a quarter of the year–so it’s important to pick an automobile that can handle what the season has to throw at it. When shopping around, make sure you look for a vehicle that has all-wheel drive. As the name of this feature suggests, this system delivers power to all four wheels at the same time and can automatically give more power and torque to all four wheels when they need it, making cars with this feature ideal for snowy or icy road conditions. 

Once you’ve found a reliable car with all-wheel drive, you should familiarize yourself with its manual shifting system. Shifting into a lower gear can help you gain more traction in your wheels and prevent you from slipping and sliding all over the road. It’s also much safer to utilize a lower gear in slick conditions so that you don’t have to use your brakes as much–since braking can cause your car to lose traction and start spinning. For most cars, you can use the shifter to switch to a lower gear, usually pulling the shifter down past the “drive” setting, but in a lot of more modern cars, there are paddles up by the steering wheel that you use to shift to lower gears, so it’s important to identify the system your car uses and familiarize yourself with the way it works in case you ever need it. Regardless of what gear your car is in, you must reduce your speed if you want to stay safe. Slowing down makes it easier for your car to keep traction and gives you more reaction time if you do find yourself starting to slide.