The freezing cold of Chicago is no mystery to those of us who live in this fantastic city and its surroundings. However, many drivers often forget to take precautions to avoid putting their life and that of others at risk.

The latest data on the increase in auto accidents in Illinois puts the state below the national average. Illinois fails 2017 with a 4% increase in motor vehicle accidents.

The cold of winter brings with it ice and snow, which hinders safety even more at the wheel. It is important to remain calm, be foresighted and use common sense while driving. The costs of a traffic accident are very high; either for repairs or the total loss of the vehicle, although nothing comparable to the loss of lives of the loved ones.

Here are some tips to keep in mind before getting behind the wheel:

  • Keep your attention on the road: Ice and snow on the road require all your attention even more than usual. Put aside all distraction devices like your cell phone and keep your eyes on the road with both hands on the steering wheel.
  • Drive slowly: The braking distance is severely interrupted when the roads are icy. By driving at a slower pace, you can keep control of your car on the ice and stop when necessary.
  • Keep the safety distance: Double the normal distance between you and the car in front of you. Avoid driving on the side of other vehicles on multi-lane roads; it is known that the strong winds of Chicago combined with ice cause a moving vehicle to move over the dividing line.
  • Keep your headlights on: The headlights of your car make it more noticeable for other vehicles. This is especially important in cases of fog and snow.
  • Know when not to drive: Winter weather conditions in Chicago can make driving dangerous. Know when it is best to stay at home and wait to avoid an accident. If you are already in a storm and find that your visibility is reduced or that the ice and wind are making you lose control of the car, look for a safe place to stop and wait for the storm to pass.
  • Prepare your car for the winter: It is important to have snow tires and special wipers, but you should also prepare your car in case of getting stuck. A small shovel, a small ice pack, a couple of water bottles and some candy bars will be useful if you get stuck in a snow bank.
  • Learn how to keep control of the car in case of ice: When you feel your car is starting to slip in an icy patch, resist the temptation to brake suddenly. Remove your foot from the accelerator, shift to neutral and turn the wheel in the direction of the skate while gently touching the brake.