Traffic accidents are a common occurrence on Chicago roads, but these crashes are always unexpected for the drivers involved. One of the most disturbing recent trends in Chicago car accidents is the number of wrong-way crashes occurring throughout the metro area. Wrong-way crashes typically result in serious personal injuries and local officials are scrambling to figure out how to prevent them.
Four wrong-way crashes have happened in the Chicago area during the past two months. Drunk driving was cited as a cause of the most recent wrong-way crash, which happened on the Kennedy Expressway. Authorities say that a 25-year-old Chicago woman was drunk when she entered the expressway on Wednesday morning and started driving in the wrong direction.
The woman clipped a truck and a car before slamming head-on into a Nissan Maxima. The Maxima driver and the wrong-way driver both suffered serious, but non-life threatening personal injuries. Two weeks earlier, three people suffered serious injuries in a wrong-way car accident on Lakeshore drive. The driver in that accident was allegedly intoxicated and had also hit several cars before the final crash.
Over the past 12 months there have been at least seven wrong-way crashes in the Chicago area which resulted in the deaths of seven people. State-wide, there are typically 30 to 40 car accidents per year. Common factors in wrong-way car accidents include night-time driving, driver negligence, alcohol, and urban areas.
Despite plenty of oversized “do not enter” and “wrong way” signs, the number of wrong-way crashes remains far too high. Officials at the Illinois Department of Transportation are battling wrong-way accidents in new ways by equipping some local roads with sensors that automatically alert authorities of wrong-way drivers. None of these measures can replace responsible driving however, which is why the problem of wrong-way crashes will likely never be completely resolved.
One of the most important aspects of many wrong-way crashes is what happens afterwards. Any type of car accident is disruptive to the lives of those involved, but car accident victims are not without recourse. Car accident victims can hold wrong-way drivers accountable for their negligent actions by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Funds from a personal injury lawsuit can help a pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages, among other things. A personal injury lawsuit can also help a car accident victim gain closure and a sense normalcy after suffering personal injuries in a crash.
Source: NBC Chicago, “Driver Charged With DUI in Wrong-Way Kennedy Crash,” Feb. 22, 2012; “IDOT Looking at Ways to Prevent Wrong-Way Crashes,” Dick Johnson, Feb. 9, 2012