Crashes are an unfortunate everyday occurrence that is sometimes unavoidable. And if you’ve been in a collision, you’ll need the help of an experienced Chicago intersection accident lawyer. Between 2016 and 2020, approximately 456,883 traffic accidents occurred in our city, which equals ten car accidents every hour.
If you or someone you know has been in an accident in an intersection anywhere in Illinois, Thomas Law Offices is here to help you pursue litigation and get the compensation you deserve. Our expert legal team is available for anyone involved in a car accident, not just those in an intersection.
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How Many Intersection Accidents Happen Each Year?
According to data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there were 38,824 traffic fatalities in 2020, 10,626 of which occurred at an intersection. Intersection car accidents account for approximately one-quarter of all traffic fatalities and one-half of all traffic injuries in the United States.
Most intersection accidents occur at 4-way intersections due to having the most traffic right-of-way conflicts, and 22% of intersection accidents between 2018 and 2020 were caused by failure to yield.
What Is an Intersection?
An intersection is a point where any roadways or paths cross, creating conflicting traffic points. Road safety is important to reduce the number of accidents that occur, but all intersections are still dangerous. There are several different types of intersections, and these are the most common:
- Roundabout: Also called a rotary or traffic circle, a roundabout is a type of circular intersection or junction in which road traffic flows in one direction around a central island. It’s designed to reduce traffic speed and minimize head-on collisions.
- Stop-controlled: Intersections that have stop signs are used to make the traffic stop and force drivers to pay more attention, reducing crashes by 10% at the intersections where stop signs are installed.
- Signalized: This type of intersection managed by signals is intended to slow and stop traffic flow to allow for safer intersection interactions. Some traffic is forced to stop and wait while other traffic gets protected right of way.
- Crossover: An intersection designed to direct some or all traffic to cross over to the left-hand side of the roadway to facilitate unopposed left turn movements. This is designed to improve safety and reduce congestion at the intersection.
- Reduced left-turn conflict: This is an intersection that relies on protected left turns or U-turns to improve traffic safety and reduce collisions.
Why Are Intersection Accidents So Dangerous?
In intersections, traffic flows from several different directions, often opposite each other, and when they interact, accidents can sometimes occur. If drivers aren’t paying complete attention, or if a driver fails to yield the right of way, the outcome can be devastating and deadly.
It’s not only drivers and their vehicles but pedestrians and cyclists crossing the roadway at any given time, which can make intersections complicated and more dangerous. Improper or illegal maneuvers in intersections are also a factor, causing wrong-way accidents or sideswipes. Failure to yield, especially running red lights, is one of the biggest and most dangerous causes of intersection accidents.
Most Common Types of Collisions in Intersections
All types of accidents can occur along any stretch of road, but some are more common in certain areas. Accidents at intersections are usually caused by distracted, impatient, or speeding drivers and usually result in the following types of collisions:
- Rear-end collisions: The most common type of accident is a rear-end collision, especially in intersections. This happens when drivers either aren’t paying attention, are driving too fast, make a lane change when there is not enough space or all of the above.
- T-bone or side-impact: This type of intersection accident is one of the most common and usually occurs when someone runs a light or stop sign and fails to yield to the traffic that has the right of way. Depending on the rate of speed of the at-fault driver, this type of accident can result in devastating injuries or death.
- Sideswipes: Most sideswipe accidents occur between vehicles driving in the same direction, but in an intersection, the chances of drivers heading in opposite directions drifting from their lane and swiping against each other are greater.
- Head-on collisions: One of the deadliest types of accidents, head-on collisions usually happen when drivers aren’t paying attention to the flow of traffic. Whether they’re distracted or speeding and think they can “beat the light,” or they go against the traffic control devices (signals, stop signs, lane order, etc.), it causes deadly consequences.
- Pedestrian accidents: Although pedestrians typically have the right of way at crosswalks, this often doesn’t stop careless or impatient drivers. It’s important to pay attention to crosswalks before you enter the intersection to make sure that they are clear.
Red Light Running in Intersections
Approximately one-third of all intersection fatalities happen at intersections with signals. Red light runners cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. In 2021, there were 1,109 fatalities due to drivers running red lights, with half of those being pedestrians, cyclists, and people in other vehicles.
A survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2021 showed that fatal red-light runners are more likely to be male, younger, and have prior crashes or alcohol-impaired driving convictions. These drivers also were most likely to be speeding or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and less likely to have a valid driver’s license.
Most Dangerous Intersections in Chicago
While all roads can be dangerous, depending on the flow of traffic, posted speed limit, weather, etc., there are some roads in Chicago that have been shown to be more dangerous than others. According to data from the City of Chicago, the top five intersections in Chicago with the highest number of crashes are:
- East 79th and South Stony Island Ave
- East 95th and South Stony Island Ave
- West Garfield Blvd. and South Wentworth Ave
- West Garfield Blvd. and South Wells St
- East Wacker and North Michigan
There are many other intersections in Chicago that are also dangerous, although the number of crashes is lower.
Moving Forward After an Intersection Collision
If you’ve been in an accident in an intersection, especially if you were injured or your vehicle was badly damaged, you have the right to pursue litigation against the driver at fault. Illinois law mandates that all drivers involved in an accident are required to report it within ten days. Failure to report involvement in an accident can lead to fines or even license suspension.
Illinois is not a no-fault state but an at-fault or tort state, which means that drivers are responsible for covering the other driver’s damages if they are more than 50% at fault for an accident. If you are in an accident where the other driver has probable liability (at least 50% at fault), there are legal courses of action you can take to get compensation for damages.
Speak With a Chicago Intersection Accident Lawyer at No Cost
Car crashes can be traumatizing and devastating, and here at Thomas Law Offices, we want you to know that you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of an intersection collision on your own.
Don’t wait another day—contact our office for your free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago intersection accident lawyer.