41316(3)In Illinois, traffic can take many forms. Cars, trucks, SUVS, and vans are common on our roadways but they are far from the only types of traffic in the state. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians can all be traffic and can affect the road conditions of those around them.

Unfortunately, this means that no one is safe from the threat posed by a traffic accident or a collision as these incidents can happen with little or even no warning. Often, an innocent party is involved in a crash when another person makes a mistake or an error, causing someone who did nothing wrong to suffer nonetheless. This is a common tale when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs and may lead to the need for emergency medical treatment.

But why do so many pedestrians find themselves the victims of collisions, and what can be done to reduce those crashes? According to experts, eliminating distractions among drivers and pedestrians alike may do much to protect public safety and improve the driving and walking conditions for all.

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1415If you live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, you know that car accidents are an unfortunate reality. The typical driver will be involved in three collisions in her lifetime but those who spend more time than average in their cars are at risk for more crashes. Sometimes, only one car is involved in an accident and yet in others, several cars may collide with one another. This can leave many victims wondering: what happens if I am involved in a multi vehicle collision?

If your accident happens in the city or elsewhere in Illinois, know that you are protected by state and local laws. You may have the right to obtain payment for the damages done to your vehicle through the use of a property damage claim. But more importantly, you may have the right to obtain payment for any injuries you sustain through a bodily injury claim. Knowing what must be done and how to complete the process of these claims can be complicated, but working with a personal injury attorney can make the process clear.

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103116It may sound surprising but few people who live in Chicago truly know what police officers do in the time following a car accident. Some believe that it is an officer’s job just to get basic information while others think that the officers handle cases through prosecution, if necessary. The truth is more nuanced than either of those options and can have an impact on the victims of car accidents here in Illinois, even if those victims do not understand the officer’s full role.

Police officers serve many roles and their titles and position within the force will determine their daily activities. From investigating crimes to issuing parking tickets, officers can wear many hats while on-the-job. Additionally, the type of police force will influence some of the officer’s assignments. For example, the Illinois State Police Department is tasked with traffic enforcement on many of the state expressways around Chicago while local officers patrol local, city roads.

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1019153.jpgEverything around us is getting smarter, more interactive, and more intuitive as each year passes thanks to advancements in technology that improve our American lifestyles. These advancements cross nearly every boundary in society and stretch from the classroom to the professional world, from breakfast to bedtime. Few pieces of our lives are technology-free at this point and many who live in Chicago like it that way.

One spot where technological advancements have made huge strides in recent years is in automobile design and manufacture. Today, cars are more efficient than ever before and can even perform some tasks on their own. Yet despite advances in cars, trucks, and buses, collisions keep happening and keep causing injuries to those involved. Nationally, the biggest culprit for car accidents continues to be rear-end collisions and unfortunately, those who drive in Chicago are at a significant risk for being involved in that type of crash.
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10616It can be dangerous to ride a motorcycle anywhere in the United States, and Chicago and its suburbs are no exception. While the weather most months makes riding a fun and enjoyable activity, there are certain threats and hazards that continue to encroach upon a rider’s safety, making it dangerous for bikers in the city.

So what can bikers do to keep themselves secure and avoid a motorcycle accident in Illinois? You might be surprised to learn that through defensive driving, bikers can greatly improve their odds of remaining accident and injury-free as they cruise the roads here and elsewhere in the nation.

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92916When it comes to driving in Chicago, most motorists tend to believe that their skills are better than average and that they are not part of the problems facing others on the roadways. However, statistically, all drivers in Illinois and elsewhere in the nation make mistakes or poor decisions on occasion, increasing the odds that they will cause a car accident or other traffic incident that may lead to injuries.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that anger, aggression, or road rage among drivers is so pervasive that 80 percent of all drivers admitted to having one or more of these attributes while driving within the prior 12 months.

The findings come from a survey that asked drivers about their general and specific habits while operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway. Importantly, many drivers tend to report their own conduct in a light favorable to their actions so these numbers may be lower than the actual experience. Further, as so many drivers find themselves with feelings of frustration, it is a warning sign to the few among us who keep their cool at all times that the motorist next to them may not be doing the same and may engage in aggressive or even damaging conduct as a result.

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12715(3)So often, Chicago drivers tell themselves “it won’t happen to me” when they think about a car accident occurring. Most motorists believe that they are better than average when it comes to their skills behind the wheel and that their experience and technique alone will be enough to keep them safe. Unfortunately, accidents happen each and every day in our city and a large number of them cause victims to be injured annually, forcing those victims to take time off from work while they recover and incur medical expenses due to the crash.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) tracks and records traffic-related incidents annually. For 2014, IDOT noted that 296,049 crashes involving a motor vehicle happened within the state’s borders, a number that should both shock and alarm citizens regardless of where they live. These crashes included single car accidents, accidents between two or more vehicles, collisions involving trucks, buses, and vans, motorcycle crashes, and those where a pedestrian was hurt. Put simply, the number and breadth of collisions occurring on Illinois roads is so vast and broad that all citizens should take note as their safety could be threatened if they become the victim of an accident.

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61616Riding a bicycle in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois can be a fantastic experience. You can move about town with relative ease, travel without worrying about parking costs or the soaring price of gasoline, and you can even enjoy the scenery while you ride. When you consider the added benefits of the physical exertion you get riding a bike, the cost savings by avoiding an expensive insurance payment for your car, and even the price break you get avoiding costs and routine maintenance on a vehicle, the only question may be why more people are not riding.

However, every year, a greater number of adults and children alike take to Chicago’s roadways to cycle for one reason or another. As this culture grows, the daily interactions between cyclists and motorists increase as well. Most of these encounters are innocent and proceed as they should. A number, however, turn far darker when a bicycle accident happens or when a traffic incident causes one or more people involved to be hurt.

When questioned after a crash, many drivers report that they were unsure of what a cyclist was going to do or where she was heading, leading the driver to make an inappropriate call regarding her own conduct that caused the impact. Experts agree that understanding and using hand signals at the right time can go a long way to eliminating these incidents caused by miscommunication.

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IMG_1250When it comes to driving in the Chicago area, not all roads are created equal. Some are well-maintained, well-designed, and function as intended to, allowing traffic to progress with few problems. Others seem to have been in need of repaving or updating for decades, leaving motorists to question why they have been so neglected by local officials and what will have to happen before changes are made.

The level of traffic on a specific roadway contributes quite a bit to that road’s overall safety and functionality. The more vehicles that use an area, the more likely that congestion will result, particularly if a car accident or crash happens and forces a backup beyond the affected vehicles.

With more than 300,000 vehicles using the Dan Ryan Expressway on a typical weekday, it has been dubbed the busiest road in the entire state, along with the Kennedy Expressway on the city’s north side. The Dan Ryan is known to locals for its high speeds and stiff congestion and is so infamous that many plan their entire transit times around anticipated rush hour traffic. If you fail to plan before getting on the Dan Ryan, odds are that you will find yourself in stop-and-go conditions.

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9716If you plan to drive in Illinois, you are required to take several steps. You must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle, must do so within the laws of the state, and must carry insurance on your car, to name a few of the requirements. But until recently, those who took a driver’s education class in the state did not have to receive an education on what to do if they were stopped by police. While many classes taught drivers how to operate on a public roadway, when to use a turn signal, and how to proceed on an expressway, only some were discussing what a driver should do if he or she were stopped by local law enforcement officers.

Now, a new law passed at the state level is changing that. A bill signed into law last month will require all driver’s education classes to cover a portion of their teaching curriculum on what procedures to follow if the driver is involved in a lawful traffic stop. The purpose of this new law is to help educate this newest group of drivers so that they are prepared for all aspects of driving, including some of the ones they may prefer to avoid.

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