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Crystal Lake car accident attorneyWhile temperatures were warm just last week and Illinois residents were spending recreational time outside, the reality is that winter is fast approaching. The leaves quickly changed from green to brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds, and now, most of the leaves that you can see are on the ground, far from the branches where they grew. In past years, we might have seen some substantial snowfall by this point, but most of the region has largely avoided serious dangers related to the weather so far. Winter is coming, however, and now is a good time to get your car, truck, or SUV ready for the ice and snow. By taking precautions, you can help yourself avoid winter car accidents in which you could easily be injured.

Keeping Your Car Maintained

Two of the main concerns for your vehicle in the cold are the battery and antifreeze. Your car relies on the battery to start the engine, so you need to make sure that the battery has enough of a charge to start even on the coldest winter’s day. Have your battery tested, and if it is not up to the challenge of winter, replace it now before you are left stranded.

Antifreeze is also important to ensure that ice crystals do not form in your vehicle’s radiator. If ice does form in the radiator, you could face a host of issues, including a breakdown. Be sure that your antifreeze is flushed, if needed, and maintained properly so that you can start the winter fresh.

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Five Tips for Teen Drivers During the WinterPart of learning to be a driver is having your first winter driving experience and understanding how it affects your road safety. Teens who have recently obtained their driver’s license may not fully appreciate the dangers of driving through snow and ice. In the worst scenario, their inexperience may result in a vehicle accident that leaves them injured or worse. As parents, you can prepare your teen for winter driving with a few safety tips:

  1. Staying Warm: It is important to dress appropriately for the weather, including warm gloves and boots. Hands and feet that are numb from the cold may not respond quickly enough when the driver needs to take decisive action. Being cold in general can also be distracting. Remind them that the interior heating system may take a couple of minutes to warm up the vehicle if it has been sitting cold for a while.
  2. Decreased Traction: Wintery conditions on the road can make starting and stopping take longer than a teen driver is used to. Losing control of a vehicle due to ice on the road is frightening and may cause teens to panic. Tell them to give themselves additional time to brake and to not slam on the brakes or the accelerator if they lose traction on the road.
  3. Driving Distractions: Reiterate the importance of paying attention to their driving and not being distracted by electronic devices. In addition, teens must clear the vehicle of snow and frost before they start driving. Trying to clean a windshield or mirror while driving will take their attention away from the road.
  4. Extra Time: Winter conditions cause all traffic to slow down in order to stay safe. Teens should give themselves additional time to get to their destination. Running late may cause them to hurry, which can lead to accidents.
  5. Knowing to Stop: There are times when the weather conditions are bad enough that driving is unwise. Teens may not want to be told that they should not drive because of the weather, but their inexperience would put them in even more danger than other drivers. They should also understand that it is acceptable to pull over or stop somewhere if the weather suddenly turns worse.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Though your teen may be the more inexperienced driver, it is possible that another driver was at fault for their accident. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you prove that another party should be liable for your teen’s injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Five Ways Motorcyclists Can Stay Safe This WinterMany motorcycle riders choose to lock up their bikes for the season when the weather turns cold and icy. For those die-hards who ride year-round, safety is paramount. Driving conditions have deteriorated for everyone on the road, and motorcycles may not get the same amount of traction that riders are used to. Here are five tips for motorcycle safety during winter weather:

  1. Check Your Tires Before Riding: It is important that your tires are in good condition before you head out onto the slick roads. Make sure that your treads have not worn down, and check your tire pressure, which may be low because of the cold. You need as much traction as you can get.
  2. Be Equipped for the Weather: The basic safety gear remains the same for winter motorcycle rides, such as a helmet and jacket. However, you must also dress to keep yourself warm. Numbness in your hands or feet may impair your ability to control your bike. You can protect yourself from the elements by using additional wind guards and heated grips.
  3. Help Your Bike Warm Up: Your motorcycle will get warmer as you continue to run it, but it will not take long for it to cool down. Stopping at an intersection may be enough time for your tires to cool, decreasing your traction once you starting moving again. Some riders sway to retain heat, while others quickly accelerate and decelerate a couple of times. You may need to simply be cautious as you wait for your bike to warm up again.
  4. Take It Slow: You will face more road hazards than normal, such as icy roads and cracks created by snow plows. Riding at a slow speed can help you maintain control of your bike when you encounter these hazards. Give more space to the vehicles in front of you because your decreased traction means you need more time to brake. Be smooth when accelerating, braking, or making turns.
  5. Avoid the Snow: Snowstorms can create the slickest road conditions and decrease your visibility. Your best safety precaution is to not ride your bike if there is a chance of snow. If it starts snowing while you are riding, you need to either slow down or stop somewhere to wait out the storm.

Contact a Crystal Lake Personal Injury Attorney

You are responsible for your own medical expenses if you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by wintery conditions or your own negligence. However, another party may be liable if he or she caused your accident. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive injury compensation for your motorcycle accident. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Winter Puts Pedestrians in Peril of Vehicle AccidentsPedestrians and drivers, alike, need to be aware of each other during winter weather. Each tends to focus on navigating snow and ice accumulations to avoid their own accidents. While distracted, they may not see each other until it is too late to avoid a collision. It is necessary for both sides to use greater caution during the winter in order to prevent a pedestrian injury.

Sidewalks and Streets

Illinois law states that pedestrians may not walk along the side of the road if there is an available sidewalk. However, snow can pile up on sidewalks because of a property owner not clearing it or a plow truck pushing snow from the street and onto the sidewalk. If the sidewalk is impassable, the pedestrian may need to walk in the street to continue forward. Pedestrians are instructed to stay on the edge of the road, so as to avoid vehicles. In this scenario, determining fault after a vehicle-pedestrian accident can vary:

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