If you were hoping for some nice weather this Labor Day weekend, you are in luck: the forecast in Chicago is calling for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. If you were hoping for an easy weekend of driving, though, the odds may not be in your favor as experts expect Labor Day to be one of the busiest driving holidays of the summer.
Millions of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs are expected on Illinois roadways this weekend and today may be the busiest day for those who want to head out of town. The Illinois Tollway believes that 7.8 million vehicles will use some part of the tollway system during the long weekend as they leave the city, enter town, or simply drive around the state.
If you plan to be one of the millions who will travel by car this weekend, consider what you can do to keep yourself safe and to limit the risk that you will be the victim of a car accident.
Drunk driving continues to be one of the biggest threats to Chicagoans every Labor Day and there is no reason to think this weekend will change that sad fact. Far too often, an adult celebrates the weekend with alcohol and then makes the unwise decision to drive while intoxicated even though doing so is against the law. These drivers pose a threat to themselves, their passengers, drivers and passengers in other cars, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and even pedestrians who may be near a street. If you will be drinking this weekend, opt for a designated driver or consider public transportation. Think of calling an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare or even walking where you go so that you will not be the cause of a drunk driving accident.
Aggressive driving is another primary cause of car accidents in Illinois over holiday weekends and often stems from significant traffic congestion that plagues the roadways. Very few people enjoy sitting in stop-and-go traffic, especially when they are trying to start a vacation with friends or family, but even fewer people get positive results from driving aggressively. Swerving in and out of lanes of traffic, changing lanes without signaling, cutting off other drivers, and refusing to allow motorists to merge are some actions that become more common as driving conditions become more stressful. If you find yourself in a precarious situation, try to slow down and relax. Do not lose your cool and instead make sure you act in the safest manner possible even if it might mean you arrive at your location a few minutes later than you planned.
Speeding is believed to be a factor in approximately one out of every two car accidents in the United States. This should be a shocking statistic to most people because it suggests that if all motorists slowed down to an appropriate speed, as many as half of the current collisions we face may be avoided. This would also lessen the number of injuries and fatalities that happen on American roadways and would ease the financial burden that follows crashes. Unfortunately, you cannot control the behavior of other drivers around you and therefore you cannot prevent others from driving at a speed that is unwise. You can control your own speed and make sure you obey all posted limits, placing yourself in a position to stop if traffic conditions change or if you need to turn or change directions.
If you will be traveling this weekend, make sure you plan on extra time to get around and bring a lot of patience with you in your car. Do your best to keep a level head if traffic conditions worsen and if possible, try to drive at off-peak times, including early in the day and later in the evening. If you practice safe driving, you will be far less likely to be involved in a collision and less likely to be injured as a result.
Prior Blog Entry:
Holding a Driver Liable after a Chicago Trucking Accident, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published August 30, 2016.
Labor Day weekend travel forecast: sunny and heavy traffic, Chicago News, Chicago Sun-Times, published September 1, 2016.