Every year, thousands of families plan a road trip vacation around the United States for the summer months. Many of them rent a recreational vehicle or they use one they own personally. Driving a recreation vehicle, often called an RV, is completely different from driving a standard sized automobile. It is larger, heavier, and it has more significant blind spots limiting visibility. As a result, many recreational vehicles are involved in car accidents every year.
Illinois defines a recreational vehicle as any camping trailer, motor home, mini-motor home, travel trailer, truck camper or van camper used primarily for recreational use and not used for commercial use nor owned by a commercial business.
An RV’s Size and Weight Can Influence Collision Results
A vehicle’s size and weight are contributing factors when a collision occurs, especially regarding safety and the harm that may result from a crash. Recreational vehicles are grouped in different categories depending on the size and weight of the vehicle since there is significant variability regarding the construction of RVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) has reported that being in a longer vehicle allows the crash force to be reduced on the vehicle, therefore reducing injury to the occupants of the vehicle involved. Moreover, a bigger vehicle has the advantage in a frontal crash with a smaller vehicle and frontal crashes account for half of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in the country. IIHS further reports that a bigger vehicle will have less force on its occupants when crashing because the weight will push the other vehicle backward during the impact.
With the foregoing in mind, it is easy to conclude that RVs present some safety advantages to occupants when compared to standard sized vehicles. As safety is the primary concern of all families that are planning a road trip, it is not surprising that many consider an RV to be an excellent option for travel.
Common Causes of RV Accidents
Recreational Vehicle accidents are not that different from regular automobile collisions when it relates to the reasons why they occur. In 2015, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported 914 fatal crashes, which represents approximately 75 more fatal crashes than in 2014. With fatal collisions increasing, it is important to understand why they occur so that they can be avoided whenever possible.
One common reason RVs are involved in accidents is that RVs have substantial blind spots along their sides and behind the vehicles. This prevents a driver from seeing completely around her vehicle and means that other, smaller cars may be completely hidden if they fall within an RV’s blind spot.
Many people who drive an RV are inexperienced at the task as they rent a vehicle for a quick summer trip. Driving an RV can be much more difficult than driving a passenger car so even licensed drivers with years of experience operating smaller vehicles are at a skills disadvantage when they drive an RV. In 2014, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported 163,817 total crashes in Chicago. Nobody wants to find themselves in a car accident, especially during a vacation with your family in Chicago.
Runaway trailers are also a common cause of RV accidents. RVs come in different sizes and some even are attached by a trailer and towed by your own vehicle. Your vehicle has a maximum weight that it can tow, and it is usually specified in the owner’s manual. If it exceeds the maximum weight, the trailer could fall off the hitch where it is attached which could result in a catastrophic accident.
Another common reason for RV accidents is inadequate stopping by the person driving the RV. RV drivers should take into consideration that proper distance should be maintained when stopping with an RV because it has more weight and will require more distance to make a full stop than a smaller vehicle. Moreover, proper distance to make a stop is important because Chicago weather can be unpredictable, and adverse weather conditions coupled with improper stopping could lead to an accident. In 2014, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported 82,744 crash reports due to adverse weather conditions in the state alone.
Recovering Damages after an RV Accident
When you have been injured or someone you love has been killed in a recreational vehicle related collision, the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are ready to help you recover the necessary damages to make you whole again. Let Abels & Annes help you to assess and understand your rights and potential remedies through a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation. You can reach us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442), locally at (312) 924-7575, or contact us online at your convenience. We have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call and everything discussed by phone will be kept confidential.
If an RV Accident in Chicago left you injured, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free case consultation.