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Drive Safe Around Road Construction Crews

road construction

As you end to family functions or work, remember that you should not rush. Always leave a bit early. But we all have been in a situation where an unexpected construction zone appears. Frustration sets in and some of us experience some road rage. However, many car accidents occur in these work zones as drivers become distracted.

Recently, a 59-year-old certified flagger died after a driver hit him and his work van in the northbound lanes of I-294 just south of Touhy. This unfortunately accident cost a family a beloved member and the driver should have been driving at a reduced speed. These mistakes need to stay at the forefront of your mind as you head out the door.

Although Chicago summers traditionally have more construction, many projects continue into early fall. Stay safe while driving on our highways and remember that the men and women fixing the roads deserve your attention.

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Waterslide Ends with Tragedy

VerructA tragic incident of a 10-year-old boy who lost his life at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City led to state inspection finding violations on 11 rides including the ride he was on. The audit listed 160 findings with 147 considered to be immediate actions to be taken to repair the rides.

Charles Thomas Schwab, 10 years old, died riding the “Verruct” slide when the raft went airborne. The raft then hit a metal pole causing him severe injuries. Traffically, he died due to his injuries in August 2016.  Charles complied with all the rider instructions. But the ride still costed him his life regardless of him obeying the instructions. Along with Charles, two other women on the same raft as him, were also severely injured. One women suffered a broken jaw. The other a broken bone in her face.

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April Showers Can Bring a Flash Flood

flash flood

Of course, April showers bring May flowers. But when that rain comes, we can also get flash flooding near the Des Plaines River and the Fox River. Although home damages are terrible, we forget about what to do if we are on the road during one of these storms.

Flash Flood Warnings

If the National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Warning for your area, follow these steps:

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately!
  • Get out of areas that are subject to flooding. Move to a safe area before flood waters begin. Stay away from low spots.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Do not drive if it is not necessary. Check out the steps to follow if you are on the road.
  • Do not try to walk, swim, or play in flood water. You may not be able to determine if there are holes or submerged debris, or how quickly the water is flowing, and you may be swept away. If water is moving swiftly, as little as 6 inches of water can knock you off of your feet! There is also a danger of hazardous materials polluting the water. Also remember that water is an electrical conductor. If there are power lines down, there is a possibility of electrocution.

Turn Around – Don’t Drown

A flash flood is the number one weather-related killer in the United States.

Pay attention to barricades.

If officials have set up barricades to stop you from driving down a road during a flash flood, don’t ignore them by driving past them.

Do not drive through standing water on roads or in parking lots.

The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water. Additionally, roads covered by water are prone to collapse. If you attempt to drive through water, you may stall your engine. And this can cause irreparable damage to your car and you will not be able to restart the engine.

If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route.

Take extra precautions if you’re forced to drive through water.

Only take these steps if you have no other option.

  • Estimate the depth of the water in a flash flood.
  • Drive slowly and steadily through the water.
  • Avoid driving in water at all if you see downed electrical or power lines.
  • Watch for items traveling downstream — they can trap or crush you if you’re in their path.
  • Before entering the water, test your brakes to see if they are wet and slipping. Dry them first by pressing gently on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right foot.
  • Stay alert. Stay off your cell phone unless you must report severe injuries.
  • If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety. Keep in mind that restarting may cause irreparable damage to the engine.
  • If you can’t restart your vehicle and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. Try to open the door or roll down the window to get out of the vehicle.
  • If you are unable to get out safely, call 911 or get the attention of a passerby or someone standing on higher ground so that they may call for help.

This spring, stay safe when strong rains come and bring potentially dangerous flash floods.

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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