As many Chicago drivers learn the hard way, black ice is a terrifying but very real risk when driving in the winter. Skidding can occur unexpectedly, leaving a driver without any control over his or her vehicle.
Consult with a Chicago car accident attorney as soon as possible after any car accident. He or she will help you determine who is legally responsible for causing your accident and how you can obtain compensation for your claim. There are, however, ways to reduce the likelihood of an accident caused by black ice.
What Should I Do If I Hit Black Ice?
The New York Times interviewed numerous transportation experts to determine how drivers should respond to black ice. They recommended drivers first ease off the gas and leave it off. Next, contrary to instinct, you should not slam on the brakes or turn the steering wheel. Any sudden movements will further reduce your control over the vehicle. By allowing the vehicle to come to a halt as slowly as possible, drivers will regain control of their vehicles sooner and in a safer manner.
There are also important steps drivers can take to prevent black ice collisions before they occur. First, the Times reminds drivers not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that their vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Such brakes will not prevent a loss of control. Drivers must still reduce their speed and watch for ice when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, be aware of the conditions in which black ice is likely to form. Open bridges, viaducts, and overpasses are exposed to cold air on both sides. This cools them faster and keep them cold longer. All of this can increase the likelihood of encountering icy conditions. Black ice is especially common at night, when there is no heat from the sun to melt ice and prevent buildup. Nighttime driving can also increase the likelihood of slipping on black ice due to the decreased visibility. Black ice already might blend into dark roadway asphalt. This problem is exacerbated at night, and drivers should be particularly watchful.
Who is Liable for a Black Ice Accident?
Legal responsibility for a black ice accident will be determined by the specific facts of a collision. If, for example, a driver was traveling faster than was safe under icy roadway conditions, he or she may be found negligent. This is a violation of Section 11-605 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Even a state or local traffic agency might be liable if it does not take reasonable measures to respond to dangerous roadway conditions. The advice of a Chicago car accident attorney can help victims improve their access to compensation by identifying all parties responsible for an accident.