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.
The unfortunate fact remains that when it comes to traffic accidents in the Chicago area, your own personal conduct only goes so far to ensure your safety. The actions of others, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians near you, has a great impact on your personal safety as you traverse the roads.
The time of day may have less of an impact than many people realize when factored into the risk of a collision. IDOT concluded that among fatal collisions in 2014, 48.2 percent happened during daylight hours. This means that roughly half of all fatal crashes occurred during the day and half at night, a surprising realization for many who consider nighttime driving to be much riskier than its daytime equivalent. However, drivers should note that lower traffic flow during nighttime hours means that fatal collisions were more common per vehicle mile traveled at night than during the day.
From the nearly 300,000 traffic accidents recorded during 2014, IDOT concluded that just over 20 percent caused injuries. In fact, IDOT declared that 61,084 accidents produced injuries to at least one person involved while 845 collisions turned fatal. Those who work with victims of car accidents, including personal injury attorneys, can tell you that these numbers are lower than the actual resulting numbers of injuries caused in accidents, though. Typically, collisions are labeled as “injury accidents” only when someone at the scene immediately complains of harm or must be taken by ambulance to an area hospital. With regularity, victims of collisions often do not realize they are injured in the immediate moments after an impact. Adrenaline masks the pain of injuries, allowing drivers and passengers alike to believe they are unharmed when really their injuries remain hidden. If a victim seeks medical help in the hours or days immediately following a crash, it is unlikely that the collision will be labeled as causing harm to a victim for the purposes of IDOT’s classifications even though harm actually resulted.
The major takeaway from IDOT’s numbers is that an incredible number of car accidents happen in our state and that on average, more than 800 accidents take place daily. You can be a victim at any moment and if you find yourself suffering due to a crash, make sure you have a full understanding of your legal rights so that you can obtain the appropriate and just compensation you deserve for your damages.
Prior Blog Entry:
Cycling in Chicago? Use Proper Hand Signals to Prevent a Crash, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 17, 2016.
2014 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics, Illinois Department of Transportation.