At some point every year, most of the 12.8 million Illinois residents will travel on at least one highway, freeway, or interstate. Many visitors to the state will travel the same roads, some on their way to a vacation in Illinois while others are just passing through the state. Illinois expressways also service a large number of commercial vehicles, including trucks and vans, which allow goods to reach consumers within the state. Interstates provide a convenient and efficient means of transit for nearly all in Illinois, yet unfortunately, they also pose a risk to the safety of those who use the interstates.
Expressways generally have high posted speed limits and the vehicles that travel them likewise travel fast. With restricted access to highways and subtle changes in the layout, it can be safe to drive at high speeds on these roads when caution is exercised. When a driver fails to act within reason or drives negligently, though, an accident may occur and those on the expressway may be injured or even killed.
Accidents on interstates are some of the deadliest of all car accidents because of the relative speeds of the vehicles involved. Higher speeds lead to a greater amount of force when two vehicles collide, and that force in turn leads to the crumpling of vehicles or a loss of vehicular control by a driver.
Expressway Accidents Caused by Semi-Trucks
Semi-trucks are a constant presence on Illinois expressways as they move product from one area to another. When compared to a private driver of a car, truck drivers tend to be safer and involved in fewer collisions than a member of the public, yet when a truck is involved in a crash, the consequences are often severe.
Fully loaded semi-trucks can weigh several tons as they drive down the interstate. The greater weight means that it takes an increased distance for a truck to slow or stop in the event of a hazard appearing on the road, including an accident, a blown tire, or a storm. Semi-truck crashes on an expressway are some of the deadliest collisions that occur on Illinois roads because of the large size of the truck compared to the other vehicles involved, often passenger cars or vans.
Though semi-truck collisions may not be as common as other accidents, they almost always result in significant injury that can leave victims with large medical bills and no means to pay them.
Expressway Accidents Caused by Cars
In terms of the number of overall collisions, cars make up a greater proportion of expressway accidents than other vehicles. This can be explained by the large number of cars that travel the roads as well as the makeup of the drivers behind the wheel. Generally, those driving cars on the highway have had basic driving education as required by law but have not had additional driver training, including that necessary for commercial or other specialized certification.
Car accidents are caused by a number of different factors with many collisions resulting from the culmination of multiple driver mistakes or errors. Recent studies suggest that speeding is a factor in approximately 50 percent of all car accidents, or one out of two collisions that occur in the nation.
Another common reason that drivers cause interstate accidents is that drivers are increasingly driving while distracted. Distraction comes in many forms and may be caused by a conversation with a passenger, a song on the radio, a cell phone or a tablet, or the in-dash electronic displays in newer cars. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous activities and also one of the most visible with a large number of people considering the practice unacceptable yet still admitting to texting while driving themselves. Texting while driving is just as likely to cause a collision as is a driver who has a blood alcohol content of 0.08, the legal limit in Illinois that creates a presumption that a driver is drunk, yet people who would never drink and drive still choose to text while driving.
Expressway Accidents Caused by Poor Road Designs
When expressways are designed, there are many factors that are considered before construction actually begins. Expressways need to be functional in all weather and at all times of the day so those who design interstates consider things like rain, water runoff, the number of turns and the degree of the road’s curvature when they are planning a highway. Equally important is the thought that is given to on and off ramps and to the length of merging lanes.
Most expressways in the nation and in the state of Illinois are well designed and are safe when drivers use the interstates as intended, yet a minority of expressways have a defect or a poor design that makes them dangerous to drivers.
Factors that are rarely considered when driving may contribute to an accident with ease. After a crash, drivers may report that a traffic sign was not visible as the driver approached an intersection or that the paint on the road was so worn that it was impossible to see where lanes were divided. Putting an overpass in an area with a tight curve may also lead to unnecessary hazards and potential crashes. Whatever the flaw in design, when a road is constructed in an unsafe manner, drivers are the ones who face the risk of serious injuries.
What to Do After an Expressway Accident
If you have been the victim of an expressway, highway, or interstate accident and you suffered injuries, you have legal rights that may include bringing a claim for your financial damages. A personal injury attorney can help you understand what options are available to you and what type of recovery you may be able to obtain.
You may be entitled to payment for your medical expenses, rehabilitative care, missed wages, and pain and suffering among any other losses you sustained but the laws in Chicago are very clear – if you fail to act appropriately and in a timely manner, you will be barred permanently from seeking relief. Make sure your interests are protected by calling Abels & Annes, P.C. today toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and taking advantage of our free, no-obligation case consultation. We are standing by 24 hours a day to help you.
If you have been injured in an expressway auto accident, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or contact us online for a free consultation.