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How to adjust your driving if you're caught in a whiteout

There are few things more frightening about driving in wintry Illinois weather than getting caught in a whiteout. If you've lived here for any amount of time, it's probably happened to you. In whiteout conditions, snow is blowing so hard and fast that you have virtually no visibility. Your windshield wipers are useless to stop the onslaught.

Naturally, it's best not to drive if whiteout conditions are present. However, sometimes, they sneak up on us. You may already be on the road when you encounter a whiteout.

It's best if you can pull off the road to a safe location and put on your flashers so that other drivers can see you. If you can't pull over and wait it out, what can you do to help reduce the chances of a crash? Following are a few tips:

Slow down and drive cautiously: Don't worry about going well under the speed limit. Look at your speedometer, however. When you can't see anything around you, it can be difficult to know how fast you're traveling.

Turn on your low beam lights or fog lights: These are safer than high beams in whiteouts because ice particles are less likely to bounce off them.

Defrost all of your windows: This includes your rear windows. Make sure the recirculate button isn't on. That can cause more fog on the windows.

Don't tailgate: Keep plenty of room between you and whoever's ahead of you. However, look further ahead than the vehicle directly in front of you.

Don't make any more moves than necessary, and make them slowly: Avoid accelerating, changing lanes and passing. The roads are likely to be slippery, and there may be treacherous black ice.

Sometimes when crashes occur during adverse weather conditions, at-fault drivers believe that they shouldn't bear any liability because they had minimal control over their vehicle. However, drivers have a responsibility to adjust their behavior to the road conditions. A driver traveling at the posted speed limit during a whiteout is driving too fast.

If you've suffered injuries in a car crash during a winter snowstorm due to another driver's recklessness or negligence, it's worthwhile to explore your right to seek compensation for expenses and damages.

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