Summer in Chicago is in full swing. Soon the beaches will be filled with swimmers; the lake will be filled with boats; the roadways will be filled with travelers. Summer is a season of fun and relaxation for many people, but there are several things to keep in mind in order to have an enjoyable and safe summer.
Safety on the Roads
Although the summer months may seem safer than winter driving, it is still important to take certain precautions when driving. For instance, drivers should:
- Always avoid texting, emailing, talking on a cell phone, or other forms of distracted driving.
- Use preventive driving techniques, such as using turn signals before switching lanes.
- Prepare for long road trips by checking the vehicle’s battery, tire treat, windshield wipers, washer fluid levels, and antifreeze.
- Always wear a seat belt.
- Never drink and drive.
- Watch for pedestrians.
- Drive slow in construction zones.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children between the ages of one and four. Every day, ten people die from drowning, and two of those ten fatalities are children under the age of 15 years. Even among those drowning victims who survive, more than half are hospitalized, with many individuals experiencing brain damage that can cause memory problems, learning disabilities, or permanent vegetative state. To prevent drowning, the CDC makes the following safety recommendations.
- Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
- Use life jackets appropriately.
- Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
- Know CPR (for older children and adults).
- Install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing pool covers.
- Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.
Most boating accidents are caused by negligent or reckless behavior, such as speeding, alcohol use while operating the boat, careless operation of the boat, lack of attention to surroundings, lack of proper lookout, and inexperience. In order to ensure your own safety and the safety of others, boaters should obey all applicable laws and follow the following safety recommendations.
- Prepare and follow a pre-boating safety checklist.
- Make sure there are adequate life preservers and use them correctly.
- Avoid drinking while operating a boat.
- Get appropriate boating education and training.
- Designate an assistant skipper.
- Be aware of the weather. If you notice darkening clouds, changing winds, or sudden drops in temperature, it is best to get off the water.
Biking is a popular mode of transportation in and around Chicago. Bicyclists should keep the following bicycle safety tips in mind:
- Always follow the rules of the road and obey traffic signals.
- Always wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet to protect against traumatic head injuries.
- See and be seen. Bicyclists should wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors whether riding during the day or at night, along with reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights if biking at night.
- Keep at least on hand on the handlebars at all times and maintain control over the bicycle.
- Properly maintain your bicycle. Make sure that tires are inflated, brakes are in proper working condition, and the seat is adjusted to the proper height. Younger children should be able to put one foot on the ground while seated on the bike seat; for older children and adults, there should be 1 to 2 inches between the bicyclist and the bike bar if using a road bike, and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle.
- Watch for road hazards. If possible, avoid potholes, broken glass, puddles, leaves, dogs, and other road hazards since they can cause you to lose control of the bicycle or veer into traffic.
- Never text while riding a bicycle. In 2011, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance banning texting for bicyclists. Violators face fines of $20 to $50 for a first offense, with fines increasing for each subsequent violation. If the offense results in a traffic accident, the fine could be as much as $500. Although texting or talking on a cell phone while riding a bicycle may seem like a relatively harmless activity, it can be nearly as dangerous as texting while driving. Distracted bikers may swerve into oncoming traffic and trigger an auto accident between other vehicles on the road who try to avoid hitting the bicyclist. A distracted bicyclist could also collide with a motor vehicle on the road, potentially causing substantial injuries to the bicyclists and property damage to the vehicle.
If you or a loved one is injured as a result of the careless, reckless, or negligent actions, you may be able to recover money damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact the Chicago accident lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible legal claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.