As people share the road in cars, on motorcycles, on bicycles, and on foot, we must be aware of the rules of the road and, more importantly, follow the laws to keep each other safe. Chicagoans that take care to know what is permissible and prohibited when using city streets make everyone safer.
Traffic lights and signs are the basics. Knowing what the law requires when you see one of these signals can ensure that your trip is safer. To learn more about traffic lights and signals, continue reading.
Disregarding traffic lights and signs is negligent and causes many accidents yearly. You deserve compensation for the injuries that you have suffered. Call a Chicago car accident attorney immediately if you have suffered an injury in a traffic accident.
The Illinois Law That Every Chicago Driver Should Know
If you are a motorist in Chicago, you should know the laws about stop signs, red lights, and yield signs. To learn more, keep reading.
Stop Sign Law
The Illinois Vehicle Code contains the law about street signs and traffic lights. It requires every driver on an Illinois street to make a complete stop when approaching a stop sign before moving past it.
Yield Sign Law
The Illinois Vehicle Code codifies when and how Chicago drivers yield to traffic. This law requires that whenever a driver approaches a yield sign, they must slow down at the line marked at the sign and allow oncoming traffic to pass before they continue traveling on that street. After the driver has slowed down, they are permitted to merge into traffic.
Red Light Law
Illinois has written a law that requires motorists to make a complete stop at all non-blinking red lights. Each driver must stop at the marked line at the red light. If there is no stop line in front of the red light, motorists must stop where the crosswalk begins. If the road does not have a crosswalk, motorists must stop before rolling into the intersection.
What Happens If a Driver Does Not Obey Traffic Laws in Chicago?
If a driver disregards a traffic law in Chicago, they are subject to a penalty. The punishment for failing to follow a traffic law depends on what happened during the violation.
- If a Chicago driver runs a red light on a street that utilizes traffic cameras, they will receive a fine of $100.00.
- If a Chicago driver runs a red light or fails to stop at a stop sign, they will receive a fine of $120.00.
- Illinois punishes drivers that violate traffic laws by adding 20 points to their license. However, if the driver goes to traffic school after violating the Illinois Vehicle Code, they can prevent demerit points from going on their driving record.
Why Do These Accidents Still Happen?
The state passed this law hoping to make everyone using the street (motorists and pedestrians alike) safer. However, despite this intention, there are still thousands of traffic accidents each year at intersections. Many of these accidents happened because drivers ran stop signs.
Some common reasons that traffic accidents happen despite the passage of the laws discussed above include:
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car crashes across the country. Distracted driving happens when the driver does anything that takes their focus off the road. Distracted driving includes texting while driving and making calls on their cellphones. If a driver is on their phone, they are likely to run a red light or a stop sign and cause an accident.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, cell phone use while driving led to a four-time increase in the occurrence of injury-causing car crashes. Young drivers that use social media while driving may be more likely to cause a car accident because they were distracted.
If a driver is mistaken about whether another driver went through the intersection, they can cause an accident. This is possible at both intersections and red lights. The most common reason a crash like this happens is the car in front chooses not to go to avoid hitting another car, injuring a pedestrian in the crosswalk, or encountering an unexpected bicyclist.
Not Knowing Who Must Stop at a Stop Sign
An accident is likely to happen if a driver does not know if they are required to stop. Sometimes intersections that require multiple vehicles to stop at once are confusing. Everyone tends to want to let the other driver go first or to go first themselves. Often drivers do not know the right of way.
Drivers must look to see whose turn it is to drive through an intersection. If a driver fails to fulfill this responsibility, they can cause a severe accident, and some other drivers and passengers can suffer serious injuries.
Rolling Through a Stop Sign
You may have heard of a California stop. Sometimes drivers roll through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop. Well, we see too many California stops in Chicago, and they often cause serious injuries. Rolling stops account for around 30 percent of all crashes reported.
Sometimes accidents happen because drivers do not see the sign. Sometimes the reason for an accident is because the driver cannot see oncoming traffic despite stopping because of the sign’s location.
Around 40 percent of reported stop sign accidents happened because the at-fault driver could not see the oncoming traffic. It may seem unfair to blame a driver for making a mistake they cannot avoid, but not seeing oncoming traffic is not a defense in a car accident lawsuit. Your best next step after this accident is to speak with local authorities about fixing the sight issue. Your voice can save someone’s life.
Technology, Design Changes, and Accident Prevention
The city of Chicago is using tech to reduce the number of preventable accidents. Most accidents across the city happen at intersections. These intersection accidents are prevalent because of the large number of cars crossing each other’s paths. Added to the danger caused by the large volume of vehicles in most intersections is the lack of visibility caused by other cars, buildings, and signage along the road. These factors lead to serious injury.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Department of Transportation suggest that the following design changes will make intersections safer for drivers across the city:
- If we changed all intersections into all-way or four-way stops, the city would see a 40 to 60 percent decrease in the number of crashes.
- The city should regularly inspect all stop signs to remove obstructions so drivers can see them.
- The number of turning lanes should increase, or the city should improve current turning lanes. Improved or increased turning lanes will help prevent yielding accidents.
- Adding signs so drivers know of upcoming dangers.
- Increasing the width of roads generally.
- Investing in smart traffic control lights to eliminate traffic congestion.
- Increasing the number of pavement markers. Pavement markers warn drivers that a stop sign is upcoming.
Several investments into technology will decrease the number of traffic accidents and, therefore, the number of preventable injuries. The car manufacturing industry is starting to focus on creating tech to save lives.
A major innovation in recent years is the front crash prevention system. The front crash prevention system includes cameras, radars, and sensors. This technology is all used to alert the driver that they are about to hit another vehicle.
Automatic Emergency Braking is now more common in newer vehicles. The car industry may become the industry standard for technology that is put into every vehicle to prevent crashes. This technology will work with seat belts and airbags to prevent injuries and death.
In addition to the front safety features, some car manufacturers are working on front and side-crash prevention safety measures. These systems can detect crashes coming from the front and the side.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
You should always seek legal assistance after a car accident. An accident attorney’s job is to protect your legal rights after you get hurt, so you must hire an accident attorney immediately. Contact an accident attorney in your area to learn more about your rights after a car crash.
Get medical help even if you do not think that you are hurt. Even if you think your headache is no big deal, it can signify a more severe head injury. Further, if you delay getting the proper medical treatment, you may face issues moving forward as you try to get compensation for your injuries.
Try to speak to any witnesses at the scene. Your attorney will want to talk to them as the case progresses. Other witnesses that you will want to have your attorney interview may include friends and family. These people can help prove pain and suffering by discussing your condition before and after the accident.
Always call the police after the accident. The responding officer will compile an accident report. In the report, the officer will make an initial determination of liability. Insurance companies use accident reports during their investigation to determine liability.
What Else Should I Look Out for in an Intersection?
After learning about all the above, you may be laser-focused on avoiding other vehicles, but vehicles are not the only danger you should look out for at the scene of an accident. Keep in mind that bicyclists and pedestrians also share the road with motorists.
Pedestrians and bicyclists do not have the vehicle walls that motorists have to protect themselves in a traffic accident. Therefore, pedestrians and bicyclists are more vulnerable to injuries after an accident. If you do not watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, you may end up hurting them badly and being responsible for paying for their injuries.
How Can an Accident Attorney Help Me?
An accident lawyer’s job is to protect your legal rights and limit your financial liability after a car accident. Unrepresented accident victims usually have difficulty defending themselves against insurance companies and defense lawyers. Therefore, an unrepresented injury victim can leave a lot of money on the table while negotiating with insurance companies. Hiring an accident attorney helps you avoid this pitfall.
Look for a legal team committed to pursuing justice for you.
A good team of experienced car accident lawyers will use the knowledge it has gained over its years of experience to help you recover damages, including:
- Lost income and loss of future income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Current and future medical bills
- Property damage
Experienced car accident attorneys approach client representation holistically. They advocate for their clients to get a higher settlement amount from an insurance company so they can receive the medical care they need. Good legal representation allows you to focus solely on recovering from your injuries.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered an injury in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, call an accident attorney today. There is no reason for you to tackle an accident claim alone. The best next step after an accident is to create a legal team that works for you and is laser-focused on getting you the best results for your claim. Despite the injuries you suffered after an accident, a car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to recover fully and get your life back on track.
Never waste time wondering if you should call a personal injury attorney. Case evaluations are free, so you have nothing to lose by calling for a consultation. Reach out today to protect your rights.