Around 5:00 a.m. on April 15, 2020, a multiple-vehicle crash occurred on the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago, said roadway having been left icy by an overnight snowfall. This led to a crash that involved dozens of cars, 32 individuals being evaluated for injuries and 14 people having to be sent to hospitals. Illinois State Police closed all of the expressway’s southbound lanes near Chicago’s North Avenue for about three hours.
Even a light amount of snow or a drizzle of freezing rain can quickly turn roads, bridges, and shaded areas into black ice. If you find yourself driving on an icy road, stay calm and take the following steps to stay in control:
- Slow Down.High speeds increase your risk of losing control of your vehicle and make it more difficult to stop. Without good traction, it takes a lot longer to reduce your speed or stop.
- Increase Following Distance. Increasing the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you will provide you more room to stop in the event your vehicle starts to slide;
- Stay in Your Lane. Driving straight by keeping in your lane of traffic will decrease risk of sliding;
- If you must change lanes, put on your turn signals and, if necessary, brake, in plenty of time to alert drivers behind you before you attempt to change lanes, and then move slowly into the next lane or onto an exit;
- Time of day. Be mindful that you must be extra cautious at sunrise and sunset when temperatures drop down and black ice most often forms.
- Danger zones. Be especially careful when driving on bridges, overpasses, and shady areas which will ice over more quickly than other areas and will stay frozen for much longer.
- Equipment. Keep a survival kit in your trunk in case of emergency. Equipment could include a windshield scraper, a shovel, road salt, a flashlight, booster cables, battery powered radio, a first aid kit, matches, emergency flares, a blanket, and a cell phone adapter to plug into your lighter receptacle.
- Icy patches.If your vehicle starts to slide, remain calm, keep your foot off the pedals, steer in the general direction you want to go, and find areas of the roadway that offer traction.