Of all accidents listed by the CDC, car accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. When it comes to Chicago, Illinois, both fatal and nonfatal traffic accidents are common. Here are the top five causes of traffic accidents in Chicago.
#1: Aggressive Driving
This is an unfortunate reality in Chicago, other major cities, and even in small towns. It’s understandable for people to get mad behind the wheel of a car when they’re driving, but what’s not understandable (or acceptable) is for people to use their cars as a weapon to display their anger. Even the lightest cars can do a serious amount of damage, but a heavier car will always do more damage. It is frustrating when other drivers aren’t following the traffic rules, but driving aggressively only creates more problems.
#2: Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is an issue all over the U.S. Our smartphones can keep us connected at all times— even while we’re driving, and that’s when problems begin to arise. Texting and driving have been an issue ever since text messaging became more widespread, but talking on the phone while driving can also be considered distracted driving. When drivers are distracted, it not only affects other drivers, but pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are also put in danger.
The good news is that smartphones can connect to most cars via Bluetooth, allowing the driver to keep their hands on the steering wheel while using their voice to answer calls and text messages.
#3: Driving Under the Influence
Like texting and driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been an issue for a while. This type of impaired driving is a leading cause of traffic fatalities in Chicago and around the U.S., and it also can affect pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.
Being under the influence of alcohol is pretty self-explanatory, meaning that any drink that contains alcohol (i.e., beer, wine, cocktails, and other liquor). Driving under the influence of drugs, however, can be a little more difficult to define. Drugs that have the ability to impair driving aren’t always illegal— they can also be both prescription or nonprescription drugs that are completely legal to own.
#4: Failure to Yield
Another common cause of traffic accidents in Chicago is the failure to yield to the right of way. The good news is that traffic signals usually make it clear who has the right of way, but some drivers (whether due to aggressive driving or speeding) fail to follow these signals. Some people also refuse to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, who usually always have the right of way— but it’s also common courtesy. In Illinois, the law states that pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way and drivers must yield to them, but pedestrians must yield to drivers when they’re not crossing in a crosswalk.
This may come as no surprise, but speeding is a leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal traffic accidents in Chicago. Drivers who speed are usually in a hurry, but aggressive and distracted driving, as well as driving under the influence can result in speeding. Speeding significantly increases the chances of an accident because there’s less time to react to other cars, bicyclists, or pedestrians, and wrecks at high speeds can be the most detrimental. A personal injury lawyer in Illinois can help victims of car wrecks resulting from speeding drivers or other driving errors get compensation for their injuries.
Bad weather conditions can also lead to traffic accidents. When it comes to inclement weather, Chicago sees snow in the wintertime and heavy rain, and occasional tornadoes in the spring, and all of these weather conditions can make it harder to drive. Extreme weather can cause roadways to shut down, but even when they’re not, drivers should be extra careful when driving in inclement weather conditions.
Chicago (as well as many other big cities) is known for its traffic and congestion. A lot of cars in one area also increases the risk of an accident occurring. Again, drivers should exercise caution in this type of situation, just as with inclement weather.
Nearly all car accidents can be prevented, and it starts by obeying traffic laws and exercising caution in certain situations. These accidents can affect more lives than just those involved, so it may be necessary to seek compensation if you’re involved in a traffic accident.