So far, 2018 in Chicago can be described in one word: Cold. Overnight temperatures as low as -15 have been reported, with wind chills—how cold it feels outside—dropping to nearly -30. It’s been so cold the last few days that Chicago’s annual Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan was canceled this week.
Of course, cold and wintry weather don’t only threaten residents’ ability to have fun by jumping into freezing water—if “fun” is the right word for that. Instead, they pose hazards to everyone in carrying out their normal daily routines. To help our readers get through Chicago’s current cold spell and the rest of the winter, here are some tips on how to protect yourself against cold-weather hazards.
Ideally, you could avoid the dangers of driving in icy conditions by simply staying home. Unfortunately, that isn’t always an option. To protect yourself while driving in hazardous winter conditions, keep in mind the following precautions:
- Winterize your vehicle. Make sure your car or truck is in good working condition before taking it out in winter weather. Check the fluids and ensure that your tires are adequately inflated and have sufficient tread depth.
- Give yourself extra time to arrive wherever you are going. If you must go out on icy roads, give yourself extra time to get where you’re going. That way, you can drive more slowly, or take detours if your normal route is impassable.
- Prepare a winter-emergency kit. Put together supplies for use in the event you have car trouble on the road or get stuck somewhere because of road conditions. Your kit should include blankets or sleeping bags, water, food, clothing, and a cell phone charger or backup battery pack.
If you need to drive somewhere, you may also plan to get out of your car when you arrive. When you do so, you should be mindful of the dangers that winter weather poses to you as a pedestrian, like slipping on snow, ice, or water. To protect yourself, take the following precautions:
- Dress warm. Dress in layers and cover as much of yourself as possible. Wear gloves, a hat, and a scarf. To help keep your footing when the ground is icy, wear boots.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for and avoid icy patches on the ground. Be careful walking up stairs or other inclines. And keep in mind that snow may be covering other hazardous conditions—so watch your step!
- Minimize your time outside. According to the National Weather Service, wind chills like those we’ve recently experienced in Chicago can cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes. Plus, the less time you spend outside, the less chances you’ll have to slip on ice. So, don’t stay outside longer than you have to.
Unfortunately, even the most thorough precautions cannot prevent all injuries. There are too many unknown factors—including the actions of other people—to be able to plan perfectly and avoid every risk.
Fortunately, when you are injured by another’s negligence or other wrongful act, the law offers its own set of protections. In such circumstances, you are entitled to seek compensation from the wrongdoer, but successfully doing so requires working with a knowledgeable personal-injury lawyer in Chicago.
If you’ve been injured in the Chicago area, contact the experienced attorneys of Costa Ivone for a free consultation today.