Winter Driving Safety Issues And Driving Safety Tips

Winter driving is becoming more of a concern given the change of seasons and various recent snow and ice accumulations.  Accidents have occurred, as seen in the various incidents including the “black ice” accidents that recently happened on the Dan Ryan Expressway and elsewhere in the Chicago area.

On November 20, 2017 the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) issued a press release with regard to winter driving safety.  The press release is titled “Preparation is Key:  Winter Weather – Get it Together.”

Notable excerpts include:

Throughout the winter, especially during adverse conditions, motorists should practice basic winter driving skills and build extra time into their schedules.

The press release offers numerous tips.  The first tip offered is to wear a seat belt.  On this site, the many safety benefits of wearing a seat belt are discussed on the “Seat Belts As An Accident Injury Preventative Measure” page.

The other tips cover a range of actions.  Another tips is to watch for “black ice.”  Another excerpt from the press release:

“Winter weather causes extremely dangerous driving with black ice and white out conditions,” said ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz. “Plan ahead by checking your windshield wipers, vehicle fluid levels, proper tire inflation and tread depth. Remember to avoid unnecessary lane changes and as always, reduce your speed and increase following distances. Don’t crowd the plow. Give them room to work. A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.”

For those who are unaware of “black ice” and its characteristics and effects on winter driving,  “black ice” is a (very) thin coat of clear ice that forms over a road.  The thin coat of ice is hazardous for various reasons, including that the resulting roadway surface is very slippery, and the ice can be very difficult to see, especially at night.  In many instances a driver that drives over “black ice” will lose control of the vehicle which may lead to an accident with injuries.

Car Accidents Attributed To Slick Roadways

There was light snowfall throughout the Chicago area on Friday (November 10, 2017).  The snowfall – the first of the season – along with cold conditions caused slippery conditions.  Many, if not most streets, were not plowed or salted.

While there weren’t conditions for black ice, many car accidents occurred due to the snowfall, including spinouts, cars leaving the roadway, and collisions with fixed objects.

An excerpt regarding the car accidents that occurred in Lake County and surrounding areas, from the wgntv.com article (with video) of November 10, 2017, titled “Slick conditions causes multiple accidents, closures in Chicago-area“:

In Northbrook, slick conditions led to multiple cars in a ditch on US-41 Skokie Highway’s southbound ramp to westbound Lake-Cook Road.

An overturned vehicle was reported on Route 53 North at Palatine Road.

Accidents were also reported in Bartlett at Naperville Road and Lake Street, as well as in Libertyville on I-94/I-294 southbound at IL-176/Rockland Road. The Libertyville crash has been moved to the shoulder.

Additional details and possible updates concerning the crashes can be seen in a variety of media sources, including the article mentioned above as well as the Chicago Sun-Times article of November 10 article titled “Lake effect snow showers cause driving woes, sends plows to streets.”

Fatal “Hit & Run” Accident Leads To Death Of Pedestrian

There was a fatal “hit & run” accident in Bolingbrook during which a pedestrian died.  According to police the accident occurred sometime between 11:00 p.m. Saturday (November 4, 2017) and 1:00 a.m. Sunday (November 5, 2017.)

According to information provided by the Bolingbrook Police Department and the Will County Coroner’s Office, a woman’s body was found in the grass along the north side of Frontage Road near Lawton Lane.  The body was discovered at 10:54 a.m. Sunday.

The woman struck and killed was identified as Tricia S. Hoyt, 35, of Orland Park.

An excerpt from the November 7 Chicago Sun-Times article titled “35-year-old woman killed in Bolingbrook hit-and-run crash“:

An autopsy Monday found Hoyt died of multiple injuries, but did not rule on her final cause of death pending further reports, the coroner’s office said.

Anyone with information should call Bolingbrook police at (630) 226-8620; or Crime Stoppers of Bolingbrook at (630) 378-4772.

Additional details and possible updates concerning this fatal “hit & run” accident can be seen in a variety of media sources including the article mentioned above as well as the November 7 Bolingbrook Patch article titled “Bolingbrook Hit-And-Run Victim Was Orland Park Woman.”

Deaths That Occur Long After A Vehicle Accident

As seen in various vehicle accidents that have occurred in Will County and throughout Illinois, fatalities that result from injuries suffered in these crashes can occur either immediately (i.e. dead at the accident scene) or after some time period.   These time periods range from hours after the accident to years after the accident.

A recent death resulting from accident injuries suffered in an August 28, 2016 Joliet crash is discussed in the October 17, 2017 Joliet Patch article titled “Bolingbrook WeatherTech Worker Died From 2016 Crash Injuries In Joliet.”  As discussed in the article, the driver (Miguel Cruz) of a car involved in a loss of control crash on Jefferson Street recently died, and according to the Will County Coroner’s Office his death was from accident injuries suffered during that crash.   According to the article, his injuries included head trauma (bleeding on his brain) and significant spinal cord injuries, which led to paralysis.

Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

For those accidents in which prolonged periods of hospitalization and/or other medical treatment (such as rehabilitation) is required, medical costs can be very substantial.  Compensation for medical expenses is one of the primary reasons as to why people who have been injured during vehicle accidents choose to file a personal injury lawsuit if another person was at fault for the accident.  There are many types of accident compensation, including the following:

  • Medical costs, including those incurred in the past, current and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of function
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Other economic damages

For those accidents which result in a fatality, the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate.

A personal injury trial lawyer at the Elman Law Group can further explain the steps needed to file a lawsuit, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding the legal process.  Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Law Group, can be called at any time for a free consultation.  His phone number is (773) 392-8182.

Monetary Considerations As A Reason For Filing An Injury Lawsuit

When someone is hurt in an accident, it can cause a range of consequences.  In addition to the actual injury and its ramifications for one’s health, there can be significant – if not substantial – medical costs, even if the person hurt has comprehensive health insurance.  In addition, there can be other issues regarding money, such as wages lost because the person who was hurt is unable to work (either temporarily or permanently) due to the injury and the recovery period.

Because of these monetary issues, one of the primary reasons for filing a lawsuit is to get compensation for the accident injury.  This compensation is typically needed to pay for medical bills, other expenses, lost wages, and other financial hardships and financial strains caused by the injuries.

A lawsuit has been filed against the village of Steger with regard to an alleged vehicle accident and injuries involving a Steger police officer.

The lawsuit was filed by Nicole Long in Cook County Circuit Court.  It is discussed in the Chicago Sun-Times article of October 18, 2017, titled “Woman injured in crash with Steger police officer files suit.”  An excerpt:

Long was driving a vehicle May 1, 2016 when a Steger police officer drove through a red light at Chicago and Steger roads and collided with her, according to the suit.

Long suffered multiple injuries from the crash, which have continued to worsen, according to the suit. Since 2007, Long had worked as a server at Iron Skillet. She did not have health insurance at the time of the crash and had to return to work despite considerable pain in order to make a living.

As further seen in the article, the lawsuit claims negligence and seeks a jury trial.

The allegations in the lawsuit with regard to the injury recovery is also notable.  While many accident injuries heal after a period, there are others, including various types of traumatic brain injuries, that can either take a significant amount of time to recover from or become permanent in nature (i.e. permanent injuries).  These permanent injuries often involve various permanent physical and/or mental impairments.

Will County Expressway Accidents Involving Injuries

There was a traffic accident early this morning on Interstate 55 (I-55) near Bolingbrook.

Details on the accident appear limited at this time.  An excerpt from the October 18, 2017 Bolingbrook Patch article titled “Crash On I-55 Blocks Left Lane, Slows Traffic“:

An early morning crash on Interstate 55 near Bolingbrook has caused backups for miles in the northbound lanes. Reports from multiple Chicagoland traffic reporters on Twitter indicate the crash occurred in the left lane of the northbound lanes of I-55 between Route 53 and I-355.

It is unknown if there were any injuries in the accident, which occurred shortly after 6:00 a.m.  As discussed in the article, the accident caused extensive traffic delays.

Will County has a variety of major expressways, and serious accidents occur on a regular basis.  If you are hurt during a traffic accident, there are a number of steps that you should take to protect both your health as well as your legal rights.  The Elman Law Group has provided a document titled “Steps To Take After An Auto Accident” in which 10 steps are described.  It is very important that these steps be taken as soon as possible, as many are time-critical from both a medical and legal perspective.  Elman Law Group offers a free legal consultation.  Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Law Group, can be reached at (773) 392-8182 at any time.

As to what the best steps are to prevent accident injuries, there are many recommendations with regard to safe driving.  Among the best injury prevention measure is for all vehicle occupants to wear seat belts (or in the case of a young child or infant, a properly-adjusted car seat.)  The safety benefits of seat belt usage are more fully discussed on the “Seat Belts As An Injury Preventative Measure” page.

Among the benefits provided by seat belt usage is that the possibility of the driver or other vehicle occupant is ejected (i.e. partially or fully thrown from the vehicle) during the accident is substantially reduced.  These vehicle ejections can occur during various types of accidents.  Among the accidents in which ejections are most common are vehicle rollover accidents and head-on collisions.

Car Rollover Accident Involving Tire Blowout

On the “Tire Blowouts As An Accident Cause” page, various aspects of issue of tire blowouts are discussed.  Tire blowouts have proven to be a very problematical issue as they often lead to vehicle instability, which in many cases can lead to a loss of vehicle control and/or an accident.  As discussed on that page, there are various reasons as to why tire blowouts occur.  There are various actions that can be taken to greatly reduce the possibility of a tire blowout from occurring.

There have been many fatal accidents in Illinois as well as nationally in which a tire blowout has led to a crash.  One such recent accident, on September 25, occurred on I-65 in Northwest Indiana, is discussed in the post titled “Tire Blowouts As An Accident Cause.”

An August 4, 2017 Will County motorcycle crash on I-57 near Peotone, which also involved a rear tire blowout, led to an accident in which the motorcyclist was seriously injured.

Another recent accident apparently involved a tire blowout.  This fatal accident happened in Illinois on Interstate 39 south of Oglesby on October 7, 2017.  This accident involved a tire blowout which led to a rollover accident.

In this accident one person was fatally injured and three others were injured.

An excerpt regarding the crash, from the newstrib.com article of October 9, 2017, titled “Rutland woman dies in Interstate 39 rollover near Tonica“:

“Initial reports were that there was a blown-out tire,” state police Sgt. Richard Mullen said of the 2006 Pontiac Torrent, a type of crossover vehicle. “It started in the northbound left lane of traffic,” he said, adding that the definite reason for the crash had not been ascertained. “It entered the median, rolled and came to rest in the southbound lanes.”

Additional details regarding tire blowouts and the danger they present to traffic safety, as well as the recent crashes involving tire blowouts, can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Two Fatalities Following I-80 Three-Truck Accident

There was a truck accident on Interstate 80 (I-80) in Joliet after which two people have died.

According to information provided by the Illinois State Police (ISP) the accident happened just after 6:10 a.m. Tuesday morning, September 26, 2017.  At that time, two FedEx semi trucks were parked on the right shoulder of I-80.  One of the semi trucks had broken down and another had stopped in front of it.

Then, a third semi truck that had been traveling on eastbound I-80 veered onto the right shoulder and struck the first truck and one of the drivers (identified as Sami Guzick, 50, of Joliet) of the FedEx trucks who was outside the truck.  Sami Guzick died at the accident scene.

A large fire followed the collision.

The FedEx truck that had broken down was driven by Jugoslav Djordjevic, 49, of La Grange.  An excerpt from the September 28, 2017 abc7chicago.com article (with accident scene photo) titled “Driver cited in deadly, multi-semi crash on I-80 in Joliet…“:

Djordjevic was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center, where he died Wednesday, state police said. An autopsy found he died of full-body burns in the crash, and his death was ruled an accident.

An excerpt from the Chicago Sun-Times article of September 28 (with accident scene photo) titled “2 killed in I-80 crash that shut down eastbound lanes for hours“:

The driver of the third semi, a 46-year-old Chicago man, was also hospitalized with serious injuries, police said. He was cited for improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The interstate was shut down for hours while the Illinois State Police Reconstruction Unit was at the scene and clean-up crews removed debris, police said. All eastbound lanes reopened about 5 p.m.

Additional details and possible updates concerning this Will County truck accident can be seen in a variety of media sources including the articles mentioned above as well as the September 27 Joliet Patch article titled “Charges Pending In I-80 Wreck That Killed Joliet Woman:  Police.”

Fatal Car-Motorcycle Collision In Crete

There was a fatal motorcycle accident Sunday afternoon (September 24, 2017) in Crete.  As seen in many fatal Illinois motorcycle accidents the accident is being attributed to a car’s driver who made a left-hand turn immediately in front of an oncoming motorcycle.  A collision then occurred between the car and Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

According to information provided by the Illinois State Police (ISP) the crash happened on Exchange Street shortly before 2:00 p.m.  At that time, an eastbound 2004 Hyundai Sonata attempted to turn left onto northbound Interstate 394, and in doing so struck a westbound Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The motorcyclist, identified as Michael Boylan, 59, of Crete, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment of his accident injuries.  He later died.

The passenger on the motorcycle, Boylans’s wife Kimberly, 55, was taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The driver of the Hyundai, was identified as Ravindar Gania, 44, of Cleveland.

An excerpt from the September 25, 2017 The Herald-News article titled “Motorcycle man killed in Sunday afternoon crash“:

Gania was charged with failing to yield when turning left.

The accident investigation is being conducted by the ISP.

Additional details and possible updates concerning this Will County fatal motorcycle accident can be seen in a variety of media sources, including The Herald-News article mentioned above as well as the September 25 Chicago Sun-Times article titled “Motorcyclist killed, passenger injured in crash on I-394 in Crete.”

Fatal Lemont Motorcycle Accident

There was a fatal motorcycle accident Sunday (September 3, 2017) in Lemont.  The accident involved a collision between a motorcycle and a car.

As often seen in collisions discussed on this site, this accident appears to have involved a car making a left-hand turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle.

The accident scene was at Main and Illinois.

The motorcyclist was identified as Michael Havemann, 63, of Lemont.  He died at the accident scene.

An excerpt regarding the fatal crash, as seen in the September 5, 2017 Lemont Patch article titled “Lemont Man Killed In Car Accident:  Police.”

According to police, investigation continues with reconstruction, however, there doesn’t appear to be any criminal intent in the accident. Police said Havemann was driving eastbound on Main, when a vehicle on westbound Main attempted to turn left onto Illinois.

Additional details and possible updates concerning this fatal Will County motorcycle collision can be seen in a variety of media sources, including the Lemont Patch article mentioned above.  The obituary for Michael Havemann can be seen at this link.