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Photo Credit: Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

Early this morning, the Kennedy Expressway was shut down as the Chicago Fire Department dealt with the effects of a multi-vehicle crash on the inbound lanes. Nearly 60 vehicles were involved, but thankfully, not a single person died in the wreck. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Fourteen people were taken to hospitals including St. Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, St Joseph Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, fire officials said. All but one of the injuries were ‘minor,’ while the other was considered to be in fair-to-serious condition.”

At this time, the collisions appear to be caused by the slick conditions of the roadways. Per the Sun-Times, Illinois State Police were dealing with multiple wrecks this morning resulting from roads that were “covered in sheets of ice.” The icy conditions led to low traction, which leads to tires slipping.

Given the number of vehicles involved, it is extraordinary that so many people escaped unscathed. Even more extraordinary is that Chicago FD managed to clear the Kennedy Expressway and open the road back up to traffic by 8:15am – about 2.5 hours after the pileup happened – despite the added stress of the department’s force being reduced because of coronavirus.

Why this spring snowfall can bring additional risks

While Spring has officially sprung, and warmer days are within our reach, late-season snowfall is not unheard of in the Windy City. The unanticipated drop in temperature, however, can lead to far more than car crashes. It can also lead to bicycle accidents, slips and falls, and other weather-related injuries.

Another unexpected trouble could be frozen pipes, which can burst. In “normal” times, this would be a hassle to deal with – but as COVID-19 ravages Illinois, busted and leaking pipes can be a game changer, especially if they occur in a home with a person in quarantine. Again, our emergency services are already stretched thin, and the number of accessible plumbers may be much lower than we think.

We are very glad that so few people were injured in this latest pileup – but given this week’s weather forecast, more storms could be on the way, which could make traveling difficult. If you must leave the house to purchase food, or because you are considered an “essential worker,” there are a few things you can do to help minimize your risk of an accident:

  1. Make sure your windshield wipers are clear from snow and ice before you leave, and that you have plenty of fluid.
  2. Make sure your antifreeze levels are safe.
  3. Keep road flares in your trunk (just in case).
  4. Use your hazard lights if you are driving slowly, or in low-visibility conditions caused by snow, sleet, rain, or fog.
  5. Make sure your tire pressure is correct. Low tires can increase the chance of tire failure.
  6. If you start to slide, pump your brakes gently, and turn in the direction of your back tires.

Gainsberg Law is following CDC protocols when assisting clients, offering remote consultations via phone or video conference. If you are injured in a car crash, during a snowstorm, or for any reason, our firm is fully operational and ready to help. Please call 312-600-9585 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with an experienced Chicago injury lawyer today.

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