Abels & Annes

Weekend Chicago car accidents seriously injure at least 5 people on expressways

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A series of serious and fatal Chicago car accidents on area expressways continues to highlight the dangers of highway speeds and congestion.

Two children and an adult were critically injured after being ejected from a minivan that blew a tire and spun out on the Dan Ryan Expressway Saturday afternoon, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Six people were riding in the Pontiac minivan when it spun out of control and slammed into a semi. The van was in the left lane of the southbound Dan Ryan Expressway at 81st Street when the accident happened about 2 p.m., according to Illinois State Police.

A 9-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy were ejected from the vehicle along with an adult male. Another child also was injured. The children were taken to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, and an adult was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, all in critical condition.

In a second Chicago expressway car accident on Saturday, a girl was hurt in a three-vehicle accident shortly before midnight. The crash happened on the inbound Kennedy Expressway (I-90) near North Nagle Avenue on Chicago’s Northwest Side. A young girl was taken to Resurrection Medical Center after the vehicle in which she was riding crashed into two other vehicles, according to the Sun-Times.

The teenage male driver was issued a citation for reckless driving; police report he was driving too fast and passing cars on the shoulder.

As reported last week on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, police continue to investigate several serious car accidents on Chicago expressways, including a multiple-vehicle accident on the Kennedy Expressway and an accident on the Eisenhower Expressway that seriously injured six motorists, including two children.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, about 7 of every 8 Illinois traffic accidents occur in and around major urban areas, primarily Chicago. In 2008, 349,000 crashes occurred in urban areas, compared to 59,000 on highways and other local roads in rural areas.

While heavy traffic and high speed are obvious contributors to the dangers faced by motorists on Chicago expressways, many drivers underestimate how much more dangerous crashes are at highway speeds.

As our Safe Driving serious reported last year on Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, speed reduces reaction time and drastically increases the force of collision.

A car traveling at just 30 mph can stop before crashing into an object 45 feet away. But increase speed just 5 mph to 35 mph, and the vehicle will strike the object at 18 mph.

And the force of a collision increases exponentially with speed. This means an accident is not twice as likely to be fatal at 50 mph than at 25 mph — federal research shows it is 15 times more likely to be fatal.

Additionally, many motorists take for granted their morning or afternoon commute on Chicago’s expressways, even though expressway driving at high speed and in heavy traffic is exactly when we most need to pay attention to what we are doing.

Too often, motorists are seriously injured or killed by negligent drivers who are talking on the phone, eating, drinking, playing with the radio or engaging in other behavior that can have deadly consequences in a Chicago expressway accident.