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Being prepared for winter driving in Illinois increases safety

It seems there's a lot to worry about on the road these days, with distracted driving such as texting and cellphone use recently added to the list of common causes of accidents. During the winter months, drivers in Illinois and throughout the areas of the U.S. that get snow and ice need to be even more careful -and prepared - on the road.

When a car accident occurs, especially one in which a driver flees the scene, leaving the other driver along and potentially stranded with a disabled vehicle, it's wise to have items on hand to stay safe.

Some items are good to carry in a vehicle regardless of the time of year, such as jumper cables, flares and a first aid kit. Jumper cables can help you or another driver in the case of a car battery not working, and lit flares placed on the road near your disabled vehicle will make your car easier for other vehicles to see. They can also indicate to emergency vehicles that you need assistance. A first aid kit will come in handy in the event anyone suffers cuts or other minor injuries.

A flashlight with working batteries should also be carried in case a vehicle is disabled at night.

Items specific to winter driving needs include blankets and extra clothes, a bag of sand, a small shovel, and bottled water and protein snack bars. Being stranded in the cold calls for keeping warm, so blankets and additional clothing will come in handy as will a shovel to dig snow away from the car and sand to be used to increase tire traction when trying to free a car from the snow. Bags of sand will also add weight to the vehicle which is helpful.

Having these items available and accessible in a car can make a significant difference in the event that a motorist is involved in an accident. They can especially be helpful if help is not immediately available during these cold winter months. After a crash, taking care of yourself and getting medical help is the first priority. Afterwards, victims can work with an attorney to pursue compensation from a negligent party in order to cover any resulting damages..

Source: Oak Forest Patch, "Things to Keep in Your Car During Winter," Lauren Traut, Jan. 21, 2013

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