Why are some Chicago intersections more dangerous than others?
Intersections are inherently dangerous for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. But not all Chicago intersections are created equally. Some intersections are more dangerous than others. Some don’t get proper maintenance, some intersections are too small for the growing amount of traffic, and others are lacking certain features that keep people safe.
Before we look at the most dangerous intersections in Chicago, let’s examine some factors that make intersections particularly dangerous.
Confusing or Unclear Lanes
Driving lanes that are not clearly marked, are too short, or are oddly arranged is a serious cause of car accidents. Every year, more than 250,000 car accidents happen due to improper lane changing. This can be caused by issues like not enough turning lanes or too few lanes to accommodate the amount of traffic. Too many lanes can also be a problem. The more lanes there are on an intersection, the more opportunities there are for a collision. Drivers have to get across a greater stretch to move to the side of the intersection they need to be in.
Unclear Directions for Making Turns
Unclear directions for making turns can cause even the most careful drivers to get into an accident. Drivers coming from opposite directions could collide while turning into the same lane. Drivers going straight risk running into drivers making left turns. When an intersection is not clear about how turning works, it can cause confusion and more accidents on the road.
Traffic Signals That Aren’t Properly Timed to Handle Heavy Traffic
When traffic signals aren’t properly timed for the amount of traffic, all kinds of issues can arise. Aggressive and impatient drivers may move too far up to anticipate a green light or risk running a red light to prevent a longer wait. When a signal only stays green for a short time, aggressive drivers speed or change lanes to beat the light.
Intersections that aren’t properly lit hinder drivers’ ability to see oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and street signs. By the time they’re close enough to see, it’s often too late to brake. This is especially a problem for cyclists and pedestrians who need drivers to clearly see them in order to stay safe.
Street Signs That Are Missing
Street signs that are missing or faded cause a lot of confusion at intersections. A missing sign might cause one driver to not stop where they should. Meanwhile, another driver who takes that route regularly doesn’t expect the other driver to continue forward. Fortunately, you can report missing or damaged signs to the city.
For many drivers, the presence of a crosswalk reminds them to slow down to look out for people on foot. They are often less vigilant when there isn’t one. The lack of crosswalks also creates uncertainty about who has the right of way. As Chicago’s population has boomed and more people walk and bike to work, this is increasingly important.
No Bicycle Lanes
When an intersection doesn’t have bicycle lanes, cyclists sometimes have no choice but to share the road with much larger vehicles. What might be a little fender bender between two vehicles is a severe accident between a bicycle and car. Bicycles are also much less visible to drivers; cyclists disappear in blindspots and during turns. New and improved bike lanes have been proven to save lives, especially in urban areas.
Ongoing construction in an intersection adds another layer of unpredictability. Drivers who’ve taken a familiar route a hundred times can be thrown off by detours. Sudden lane changes or braking doesn’t give surrounding drivers much time to adjust. Additionally, obstacles like debris and construction cones can lead to swerving. Construction zones are always dangerous, but they can be especially so at intersections.
10 Most Dangerous Intersections in the Chicago Area
As a Chicago driver, you probably travel through several of the most dangerous intersections on a regular basis. Knowing which intersections are dangerous can give you a heads-up and hopefully make you more aware at any busy Chicago intersection.
1. Stony Island Avenue at S South Chicago Avenue
The first dangerous intersection on our list is where Stony Island Avenue’s six lanes intersect with S South Chicago Ave and E 79th St. This diagonal intersection is both complicated and busy. In 2010, the intersection was responsible for a record 63 crashes, more than any other in the region. Additionally, the area is further complicated by the rush of traffic heading for the Chicago Skyway.
Stony Island Avenue and S South Chicago Avenue are located between the neighborhoods of South Chicago and South Shore.
2. Western Avenue at Peterson Avenue
With so many busy lanes, old infrastructure, and a lack of sufficient traffic signals, it’s no surprise that the W Peterson Ave & N Western Ave intersection sees about 50 crashes a year.
W Peterson Ave & N Western Ave is located in North Chicago in the neighborhood of West Ridge.
3. N Kedzie Avenue at W Belmont Avenue
North Kedzie Avenue at West Belmont Avenue can be just as confusing for locals as it is for visitors. This dangerous intersection with diagonal crossroads on both sides of the underpass and connections to the Kennedy Expressway is responsible for dozens of accidents each year.
N Kedzie Ave & W Belmont Ave is located in the neighborhood of Avondale.
- North Lincoln Park W and North Clark Street
It always seems like rush hour at Lincoln and Clark. This dangerous intersection is not equipped to handle the heavy traffic that goes through it each day, which causes its fair share of accidents. Matters are worse for cyclists since there are no bike lanes, which forces them to intermingle with vehicle traffic.
N Lincoln Park W & N Clark St is located in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park.
5. Milwaukee Avenue and North Ave/Damen Ave
Milwaukee Avenue is part of the most dangerous junction for Chicago pedestrians. Milwaukee Avenue is no better for cyclists. While the stretch between North and Division is just .07 miles, the cracking infrastructure and worn-out paint contributes to the danger.
Milwaukee Avenue and North Ave/Damen Ave is located in the neighborhood of Wicker Park.
6. South Cicero Avenue and West 127th Street
On-ramps and off-ramps are a well-known feature of Chicago roads. The merging and unpredictable changes in speed make this road design dangerous. Cicero Avenue and 127th Street are no exception.
S Cicero Ave & W 127th St is located in the neighborhood of Crestwood.
7. La Grange Road at I-80 Westbound Ramp
Too many drivers who use La Grange Road Westbound Ramp aren’t aware of the traffic laws regarding the two right turning lanes. This intersection’s congestion and confusion often cause back-ups that get even worse when this chaos causes an accident.
La Grange Road at I-80 Westbound Ramp is located in the neighborhood of Orland Park.
8. Illinois Route 59 and Ogden Ave
The excessive number of crashes at Ogden Avenue at Illinois Route 59 has not scared away many drivers. With over 40 crashes per year, the area is as busy as ever.
Illinois Rte 59 & Ogden Ave is located in Naperville.
9. 22nd Street and Kingery Highway
The intersection at 22nd Street and Kingery Highway is a massive intersection with thousands of cars traveling through it each day. This volume of cars attracts a significant number of accidents. Reports show some 50 accidents occur at this intersection each year.
22nd St & Kingery Hwy is located in Oak Brook.
10. Bolingbrook Drive at the Southbound Ramp to I-55
The ramps onto I-55 from Bolingbrook are always congested and require extra attention. With over 40 car accidents per year, Bolingbrook Drive and I-55 is one of the greater Chicago area’s most dangerous intersections.
Bolingbrook Drive and I-55 is located in Bolingbrook.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident and need help, request a free consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with an experienced Chicago auto injury lawyer today.