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How to drive safely in Chicago this winter

driving-winter.jpgChicago is well known for many things, like their brand of hot dogs, jazz music, interesting architecture ... and it's harsh winters. If you live in or around the area, you're well aware that the winter months will bring cold temperatures along with plenty of snow and ice.

    Driving in less than ideal conditions is a challenge, as you need to adjust your style with the idea of maintaining your safety. Here are five things you should try to do:

    • Stay home: When possible, avoid the roadways when they're covered with ice and snow. Even if you delay your trip by an hour or two, it may give local crews enough time to improve the safety of the roadways you'll be traveling.
    • Slow down: If you must venture out into severe winter weather, drive slowly. Driving fast increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle, such as if you hit a patch of ice or need to brake suddenly on snowy roads.
    • Increase your following distance: It takes longer to stop your vehicle in wintry conditions, so leaving more space between your vehicle and others is imperative to your safety. You'll be glad you did this if you suddenly have to stop, such as if the driver in front of you grabs their brakes for no apparent reason.
    • Use your headlights: If it's snowing, raining, sleeting or foggy, use your headlights to increase visibility. This also allows other drivers to more easily spot and track your vehicle.
    • Steer clear of hills: It's not always possible, but if you don't have to tackle hilly roadways you should avoid doing so. And if you must, try to maintain a steady speed until you reach the top.

    As you're adjusting your style with the hope of remaining safe, you may find that other drivers don't care to take as much caution. They're speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and riding your bumper.

    If one of these negligent drivers causes an accident, move out of harm's way and call 911 to explain the circumstances. You should then administer first aid, wait for paramedics to arrive and accept treatment at a local hospital. All these steps should lead you to learn more about your legal rights, as doing so will help you seek compensation for your injuries.

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