Illinois Flooding Creates Dangerous Driving Conditions

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullis remind Illinois drivers that the recent rainstorms are creating many hazardous conditions on the state’s roadways, including widespread flooding and road closures. Our attorneys, along with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is encouraging all motorists to use extra caution today as flood warnings and watches are in place throughout the state.

As of mid-morning on Thursday, April 18, 2013, most flooding and weather-related issues were occurring in the northern section of the state, near Chicago and its suburbs. One Chicago man, Jeff Goza, tried to get to Frederick Middle School, where he works as the head custodian, around 5:30 a.m. this Thursday morning. He could not gauge how deep the water was, but decided to risk it. Halfway into his commute, his car died from water pouring into the engine.

Those similar to Goza’s incident are occurring throughout the Chicagoland area today, as commuters try and often fail to brave the wet conditions. Many were forced to abandon their cars on the roadways that now resemble lakes and rivers. Chicago’s AAA service alone handled about 800 calls from stranded drivers between 7 a.m. and noon.

IDOT has several tips for motorists braving today’s conditions, including avoiding accumulating water. If you have to ask yourself whether or not you should try, the answer is no. If the sitting water is higher than the bottom of your car door or tailpipe, your car will stall and you may be forced to abandon it. If it becomes stuck in water above the door frame, do not try to start it until it is inspected by a professional mechanic.

Driving in flooded areas can be excessively dangerous, as flood waters can quickly carry vehicles and pedestrians away, as a rushing river would. IDOT is diligently working to ensure all flooded and dangerous roads are closed to the public and it will continue to monitor these areas to ensure motorist safety while the storm ensues.

This Thursday morning Governor Pat Quinn activated the State Incident Response Center in the state’s capitol to assess severe weather and flooding across the state. The Center will also help expedite assistance and residents and local public safety officials may need. It will remain open for as long as support is needed. For a list of all road closures in Illinois, follow this link.

The general manager of XL Towing stated that she has about a dozen trucks currently on the roads today, removing cars from highways and flooded roadways throughout Chicagoland. She stated that drivers are either not realizing there is an abundance of water or are going too fast for the conditions. She added that one of the biggest mistakes drivers make is taking their foot off the accelerator while driving through standing water. This allows the engine to pull in copious amounts of water, ultimately stalling it.

Evanston’s North Shore Towing has rescued more than 85 cars in the first few hours of the Thursday morning commute. In most of these cases the water had already risen past the door frames. Operators say their jobs are hectic today, and that their phones won’t stop ringing.

Naperville is currently providing residents with sand and bags to help deter and prevent flooding. Many residents already have several inches of water in their basements after retention ponds started overflowing. Additionally, the Snow Valley Nursing Home in Lisle was just evacuated because of the rising DuPage River. Residents of Morris and Elgin are warned that they should be prepared for evacuation as well if flood levels continue to rise.

Auto accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm hope all Illinois residents make it safely though the day in these conditions. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident, contact a skilled attorney who can inform you of your legal rights in a free consultation.

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