Even though the calendar won’t say that it’s winter for another couple of weeks, residents in the Chicagoland area are already gearing up for Old Man Winter with this week’s first real snow. In fact, we’ve gotten an unusual reprieve from the white stuff; this year marks the fifth-latest date of first measurable snowfall in the city’s history. And as it usually happens, the season’s initial episode of snow precipitation brings with it a host of auto accidents – but two of them were fatal.Early Friday morning, a 29-year old man was driving his vehicle westbound on Interstate 80 in New Lenox. Near the Route 30 interchange, the man’s vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer. The victim was transported to a hospital in Joliet, but he succumbed to his injuries around 2:45am.Then during the morning rush hour, another man was killed while commuting into downtown Chicago. Around 7am, a man driving a pickup truck on the eastbound side of the Eisenhower Parkway died after his vehicle was hit by a box truck near the Cicero Avenue exit. The box truck driver was cited by police for improper lane usage.Even though the weather may have played a factor in these two fatal motor vehicle collisions, Mother Nature cannot be used as an absolute defense if wrongful death lawsuits are brought against the driver of the 18-wheeler or the box truck. Therefore, both of these drivers may very well be held liable for reimbursement of hospital and burial costs, lost future wages which would have been earned by the victims, and damages for pain and suffering by the surviving family members.In other words, Illinois law requires all drivers to take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to prevent auto accidents – and they can’t use inclement weather as an excuse to avoid culpability for collisions.