Adverse Driving Conditions Expected For McHenry County

Poor Driving Conditions Expected For McHenry County

An oncoming winter storm is expected to create adverse driving conditions throughout McHenry County as well as the broader Chicago metropolitan area over the next 2-3 days. Wind, snow, ice, and dropping temperatures are forecast.

Given these anticipated adverse driving conditions, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) issued a January 18, 2019 media release titled “Snow, plummeting temps, strong winds, bring challenging travel conditions this weekend.” (pdf)

Notable excerpts include:

The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning the public that a winter storm arriving this evening will make travel a challenge throughout much of Illinois, with some areas possibly receiving up to 8 inches of snow. Motorists should be prepared for high winds and colder temperatures persisting through the weekend, causing drifting and icing even on treated surfaces.

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The National Weather Service is forecasting snow to begin this evening across northern and central Illinois, with totals ranging between 2 and 8 inches by Saturday evening. The southern part of the state is expected to see a mix of precipitation with the potential for icing. Gusty winds and low temperatures the remainder of the weekend will create blowing and drifting, reducing visibility to whiteout conditions at times and limiting the effectiveness of salt.

Motorists should expect slick conditions and remain extra cautious at all times.

The media release also offers travel tips for those who must travel. Among the more notable safety tips for adverse driving conditions include:

  • Use extra caution in areas susceptible to ice, including ramps, bridges, curves and shady areas.
  • Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law and your best protection in the event of a crash.
  • If you are involved in a crash, remain inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle near a busy roadway can have fatal consequences.

On this site, the benefits of wearing a seat belt – and the risks and potential consequences of not wearing a seat belt, should one be in a vehicle accident – are further discussed on the “Seat Belt Usage Safety Benefits” page.

Additional Details Regarding These Adverse Driving Conditions

Additional details regarding these anticipated adverse driving conditions for McHenry County and the surrounding areas can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Proper Passenger Restraint Law Regarding Children Under 2 Year Old

Proper Passenger Restraint To Avoid Serious Injuries

Proper passenger restraint remains one of the best ways to avoid potentially serious vehicle accident injuries. This proper passenger restraint can take many forms. One of the best and most effective safety measures a vehicle occupant can take is to wear a seat belt, or for children the use of child safety seats . The benefits of seat belts is further discussed in the “Seat Belt Usage Safety Benefits” page.

A new Illinois law takes effect for 2018 for proper passenger restraint regarding child safety seat usage. The new law is discussed in the sj-r.com article of December 28, 2018 titled “New rear-facing child car seat law goes into effect Tuesday.”

An excerpt from the article:

Children 2 years of age and younger will have to ride in rear-facing car seats when a new Illinois law takes effect Tuesday.

The state’s Child Passenger Protection Act, signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner Aug. 3, mandates a $75 fine for first-time violators with the fine going up to $200 for the second violation.

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“There will be lives saved because of this legislation,” said Doug Carlson, chairman of the department of pediatrics and professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

While the law affects children up to age 2, Carlson said parents “should consider keeping them in (car seats) longer as long as they can fit.”

Head and neck injuries, and to some extent chest and abdomen injuries, are lessened when children are in rear-facing seats, he added. That’s because those parts of the body are supported by the hard shell of the car seat allowing it to absorb most of the force.

Additional Details Regarding This Proper Passenger Restraint Law

Additional details regarding this new law regarding proper passenger restraint for children can be seen in the article above as well as the December 31 CBS Chicago article (with video) titled “Parents Prepare For New Car Seat Law Taking Effect.”

Road Hazards And Road Debris In Illinois And McHenry County

Road hazards and the threat they present to traffic safety is discussed on the “McHenry County Road Hazards” page.  As seen on that page, road hazards can take many forms.  Among the most dangerous road hazards are those objects that hit vehicles as they drive down the expressway or other roadway.  These objects can include tires and wheels which have detached (often called “wheel separations”) from other vehicles.  One such Chicago-area accident that involved a wheel that had detached off of a SUV and fatally struck a driver in a car as the driver was traveling on the Bishop Ford Freeway.

Other types of road hazards can include high standing water on the roadway.  Depending on the depth of the water and other characteristics, this standing water can cause hydroplaning or other adverse impacts on vehicle handling, which can lead to a loss of vehicle control.

Another type of road hazard is large potholes or other types of substantial road deformities which, if hit by a vehicle, can cause the driver to lose control.

One of the reasons that road hazards are potentially dangerous is that they often are unexpected; as well, they can suddenly appear and as such may leave the motorist with little reaction time to successfully react to the hazard.

As well, if the motorist is driving at night or other situations with limited visibility, these road hazards can be especially problematical.

On August 30, 2018 NBC Chicago aired a video segment titled “More Than 9,000 Crashes on Illinois Roads Caused By Debris.”  The segment discusses one type of road hazard, debris that is sitting on the roadway.  If hit or run over by a vehicle, such debris can cause a range of adverse effects, including a loss of control and/or a crash.  As seen in the segment, many people have been injured and some have been killed due to road debris.

An excerpt from the article:

Seventeen people have been killed in crashes caused by debris on Illinois roadways, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s most recent data.

From 2012 to 2016, more than 9,000 accidents have resulted in more than 1,500 people injured.

As seen in the segment, there is a wide range of items that IDOT has found on the roadway, including kitchen sinks, grills, and mattresses.

Additional details and possible updates concerning road hazards and road debris can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

McHenry County Anticipated Adverse Driving Conditions

Anticipated Adverse Driving Conditions For McHenry County

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has issued a warning today (February 8, 2018) with regard to adverse driving conditions due to anticipated snowfall starting tonight.  These driving conditions are expected for Northern Illinois (the broader Chicago area including Lake County and McHenry County.)

The media release is titled “Winter Storm, Treacherous Driving Conditions  Across Northern Illinois Tonight and Friday.” (pdf) The release discusses driving issues with regard to the anticipated 10-12 inches of snow that is expected to fall in Northern Illinois tonight and tomorrow.

An excerpt from the release:

The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning the public that a major winter storm with the potential for 12 inches of snow in northern Illinois will create treacherous conditions tonight and Friday. Driving should be avoided, with snow- and ice-covered roads, limited visibility and extremely long travel times anticipated.

The release also offers various “safe-driving” tips for dealing with the expected driving conditions.

One of these tips is the following:

  • Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.

On this site, the importance of every vehicle occupant wearing a seat belt at all times is discussed on the “Seat Belt Usage Safety Benefits” page.  As discussed on that page, wearing a seat belt helps prevent the possibility of the driver and/or other vehicle occupants from being ejected (i.e. partially or fully thrown) from the car or other type of vehicle.  These ejections often lead to accident injuries that are serious and possibly life-threatening in nature.

During adverse driving conditions – especially those involving snow and ice – various types of crashes are likely to occur.  These crashes can include various types of loss of control, including spinouts and “slideoffs.”  Additionally, there may be potential for formation of “black ice,” which often creates a very hazardous condition for drivers.

Additional Details Regarding These Adverse Driving Conditions

Additional details regarding these anticipated adverse driving conditions in McHenry County caused by heavy snowfall can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Results From McHenry County Holiday Traffic Safety Campaigns

Traffic Safety Enforcement Campaigns In McHenry County

Recently, both the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Crystal Lake Police Department released results of holiday traffic safety enforcement campaigns.

The Crystal Lake Police Department’s campaign is described in the December 14, 2016 Northwest Herald article titled “Crystal Lake police to step up traffic enforcement during holiday season.”

The results of this enforcement campaign is discussed in the January 3, 2017 Crystal Lake Patch article titled “Crystal Lake Police Issue 69 Citations, Make 4 Arrests During Holiday Enforcement Effort.”

Various citations and and traffic-related arrests are listed.  Among those mentioned are for unlawful use of an electronic communications device, speeding, not wearing a seat belt, moving violations, DUI, and others.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office issued the January 6, 2017 release titled “New Year’s Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over Results.”  An excerpt from that release:

During the mobilization, the McHenry County Sheriffs Office issued the following citations and made the following arrests:

  • 5 DUI arrests
  • 1 Transportation of open alcohol citation
  • 3 Driving while license Suspended arrests
  • 1 warrant arrest
  • 3 seat belt child restraint citations
  • 61 speeding citations
  • 11 no insurance citations

Additional Details Regarding These McHenry County Traffic Safety Enforcement Campaigns

Additional details and possible updates concerning these Crystal Lake and McHenry County traffic safety issues can be seen in a variety of media sources, including the Crystal Lake Police Department as well as the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office releases mentioned above.

Characteristics And Consequences Of Drowsy Driving

On August 8, 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) published a report concerning the impact of “drowsy driving.”  Accompanying the release of this report was a press release titled “New Report Spotlights Dangers Of Drowsy Driving.”

A few excerpts from this release include:

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do, points out that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans are driving every day. And it’s taking a toll – an estimated 5,000 lives were lost in drowsy driving-related crashes last year.

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While estimates of deaths caused by drowsy drivers range from 2% to 20% of all traffic fatalities, safety officials agree that the extent of the problem is not fully known. “There are challenges associated with both measuring and combating drowsy driving,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins, who oversaw the development of the report. “Law enforcement lack protocols and training to help officers recognize drowsy driving at roadside. And if a crash occurs, the drowsy driver may not report the cause due to concerns about monetary and other penalties.”

The Huffington Post article of August 11, 2016, titled “Sleeping At The Wheel Costs The U.S. A Shocking Amount Of Lives And Money” discusses drowsy driving and highlights eight notable aspects of the full report’s findings.  Four of these aspects, which are more fully discussed in the article, include:

2. DROWSY DRIVERS ARE 3.5 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO CRASH.

4. DROWSY DRIVING PLAYS A ROLE IN NEARLY A QUARTER OF FATAL CRASHES.

5. AFTER 21 HOURS WITHOUT SLEEP, YOUR DRIVING IS ABOUT AS GOOD AS IF YOUR WERE DRUNK.

8. MORE THAN TWO IN FIVE DRIVERS ADMIT TO HAVING FALLEN ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.

Of particular note is point #5 above, which is accompanied by a graphic in the article.  As explained on page 9 of the GHSA full report:

A motorist who has been awake for an extended period of time will likely experience performance deficits similar to that of someone who has been drinking. For example, a motorist who is up for a continuous 18 hours will typically exhibit performance levels similar to that of a person with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.05%. After 21 and 24 hours without sleep, performance mimics a BAC of 0.08% and 0.10%, respectively (Dawson & Reid, 1997; Arnedt et al., 2001).

The report then lists the common factors in drowsy driving crashes.

Additional details concerning drowsy driving accidents can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Randall Road Improvement Project

Road Improvement Project In McHenry County

Often, excessive traffic, congestion and poorly designed roadways can cause, if not contribute to, traffic accidents.  Often, municipalities will redesign and/or expand roadways that are experiencing excessive congestion in order to alleviate congestion and travel times.  Another factor that spurs redesigns and other road improvements is if there are a significant number of accidents.

The Daily Herald article of July 8, 2016, titled “Another $10 million approved for Randall Road widening project” discusses road improvement plans for Algonquin Road, including at the Algonquin Road and Randall Road intersection, which is pictured below:

An excerpt from the article concerning the number of accidents that have occurred in this area of roadway:

The project is expected to mitigate traffic congestion along the busy corridor and ameliorate safety at the Algonquin Road and Randall Road intersection, where hundreds of traffic accidents occur each year, said Jeffrey Young, assistant county engineer with the McHenry County Division of Transportation.

Additional details and possible updates can be seen in a variety of media sources, including the Daily Herald article mentioned above.

McHenry County Holiday Season Traffic Safety Enforcement

Drunk Driving In McHenry County

The “McHenry County Drunk Driving Accidents” page cites statistics regarding drunk driving (and other impaired driving) in McHenry County, as well as discusses various aspects of drunk driving accidents.  As seen in the statistics, drunk driving is a significant concern in McHenry County, as it is in other Illinois areas as well nationally.  This drunk driving is often most prevalent during holiday periods.

On December 15, 2014, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release titled “Sheriffs Office Cracking Down On Drunk Driving.”  In this press release, actions taken to reduce drunk driving activity are discussed, as well as enforcement efforts to improve traffic safety.

Two excerpts from the release:

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Officewill be out from December 19, 2014 through January 4, 2015,  as part of the annual Illinois “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk drivers. The statewide crackdown will include high-visibility alcohol and safety belt enforcement throughout McHenry County.

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McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputies will be aggressively looking fordrunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk. In addition, front and back seat belt law violators will be ticketed.

For Additional Details Regarding These McHenry County Driving Safety Enforcement Efforts

Additional details can be found in the press release.

Illinois Seat Belt Usage Laws

Information Concerning State Of Illinois Safety Belt Laws

For those looking for information concerning Illinois safety belt laws – including the rules regarding child passenger safety – there is an Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety website at buckleupillinois.org with a page titled “Illinois Safety Belt Laws.”

On this page there is also links to the full copy of the Illinois Safety Belt Law as well as a full copy of the Child Passenger Protection Act.

For Additional Information Concerning Illinois Safety Belt Rules

Additional information – including information concerning the Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing Law – can be found on the website mentioned above.

Illinois Seat Belt Usage Campaign

Seat Belt Usage Campaign For McHenry County And Illinois

On May 20, 2014, the Illinois Department Of Transportation (IDOT) issued a news release regarding the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.  The news release is titled “IDOT, ISP, Local Law Enforcement Encourage All Motorists To ‘Click It or Ticket” to Help Avoid Fatal Vehicle Crashes.”

A couple of notable excerpts from this news release include:

With the arrival of Memorial Day and the start of the summer travel season, at several events throughout the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today highlighted data showing the ages of individuals who have died unbelted in motor vehicle crashes in recent years. This data was stressed as a reminder to people of all ages as the Illinois State Police and over 500 local law enforcement agencies step up seat belt enforcement efforts heading into Memorial Day weekend as part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

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Since 1985 in Illinois, IDOT estimates over 9,000 lives have been saved by seat belts. Illinois’ daytime, front-seat belt usage rate is almost 94 percent, yet motor vehicle fatality data shows people are still not buckling up.

“Even with a seat belt usage rate of nearly 94% in Illinois, motor vehicle crash data shows that half of those dying in vehicle crashes aren’t buckled,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “No matter where or when you’re traveling in Illinois, you must make the life-saving decision to buckle up.”

The news release also displays statistics regarding the number of people – and their ages – who have died in accidents from 2009-2013 while not wearing seat belts.

Various Information Concerning This McHenry County Driver Safety Issue

Additional details can be seen in the above-mentioned IDOT news release.