Just when we thought spring was finally here to stay, Chicago surprised us with some snow early in the week. Despite it being late March, temperatures plummeted after a prior week of warmth. Unfortunately, the sudden heavy snow fall caused problems for many travelers on the roads, airport, and trains.
According to a report by NBC Chicago, the snow and icy conditions really caused a rough Monday for Chicagoans. By the afternoon, over 450 flights were cancelled at O’Hare International Airport, and those flights that weren’t cancelled reported delays of up to 90 minutes. At Midway Airport, over 50 flights were cancelled, with others delayed up to an hour.
On the roads, the snow and icy conditions created dangerous situations, especially for morning commuters. Several accidents were reported throughout the Chicagoland area, several of which included school buses. LaPorte County alone received over a dozen calls reporting motor vehicle accidents within two hours of snowfall. Then, a South Central School bus that was carrying 33 students was involved in a crash when it was rear-ended while waiting to turn into the school. A second school bus accident involved an East View Elementary School bus carrying seven students where a car crashed into the bus. A third accident involving a school bus occurred on Orchard Road in Montgomery where the bus was rear-ended by a car. Three other motor vehicle crashes were reported near County Road 400 N on U.S. 35, and another on U.S. 35 near Schultz Road.
In many of the accidents reported by NBC, vehicles were rear-ended. Because it was snowy that day, this suggests that drivers may have been going too fast for the conditions, which didn’t allow them to stop in time to avoid collision. This could also mean that drivers did not allow enough distance between them and the vehicle in front of them to make a longer stop for the snow covered roads. It is important that we practice safe driving no matter the weather, and to especially be prepared to act with extra caution in slippery conditions where snow and ice are present. Even though we hope spring weather is just around the corner, it is imperative that drivers recognize that Midwest weather can be unpredictable and that we can still get winter conditions into early-to-mid springtime.
The National Traffic Safety Institute stresses that it takes longer for a vehicle to come to a stop on slippery surface. While in ordinary conditions drivers should follow a “three-second rule,” in slippery conditions a driver should allow extra time. It is important that drivers slow down in snowy and icy conditions and make turns slowly so as to not lose control of their vehicle. Driving too fast for the conditions is a major factor in winter weather accidents.
Our attorneys urge community members to safe on the roads, no matter the season. Bear in mind that during this time of year when the seasons are changing that weather can be unpredictable and take us by surprise. Be sure to watch weather reports so you can stay best informed of what to expect before you get behind the wheel.