Heads Up to Drivers: Higher Risks for Summertime Car Accidents in Illinois

You may be inclined to take it easy this summer, and you deserve it. Whatever you do though, don’t let down your guard behind the wheel.

Residents are more likely to die in a car accident in Illinois during the summer months. There are a number of things you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones on our roadways during the next few months.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer, but we also ask that you use caution while traveling to and from your summer vacation destinations. Increased traffic during the summertime directly affects the number of fatal accidents on our roadways.”During the summer months, weekends provide families and friends with an opportunity to come together and enjoy the warm weather,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “….[As]the summer driving season shifts into gear, the Illinois State Police want to remind motorists to stay focused behind the wheel, obey all traffic laws and avoid unnecessary distractions. Our goal is to make the summer driving season as safe as possible.”

According to the 2009 Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics report, more than 89,000 people were injured in traffic accident during the year. Rear-end collisions accounted for the highest number of injury accidents, resulting in nearly 30 percent of all injuries in 2009. These types of accidents were also responsible for a majority of property damage accidents, accounting again for nearly 30 percent of total crashes.

“The number of fatalities and injuries on Illinois roadways has declined in recent years due to many factors including effective traffic safety programs, excellent safety engineering, strategic partnerships with law enforcement and the fact that more motorists are buckling up today than ever before,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig in a release statement. “Even with these accomplishments, however, impaired driving is still responsible for far too many motor vehicle deaths and injuries across Illinois. IDOT stands firm in its goal to eradicate the senseless act of drinking and driving on Illinois roadways.”

Reader’s Digest urges Motorists to keep these five driving hazards in mind when driving during the summer months:

Look out for wild animals. As more vehicles travel our roadways during the next few months, your risk of hitting a deer, moose, or other wild animal greatly increases. You are urged to always be alert and focused when behind the wheel of your car.

“Drivers need to understand the type of area they are driving in and be aware of any signs or markings indicating the possibility of animal crossings,” he says.

According to State Farm there were 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the United States in 2009.

Be cautious in wet weather. A number of accidents happen when drivers fail to adjust their driving behaviors to current weather conditions.

“If a hailstorm is bad enough that you can’t see the road, the safest thing might be to pull off to the side of the road and wait until driving conditions improve,” says Dan Bleier, a spokesperson for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “A little extra caution is bound to slow you down, “but being involved in a crash could end your trip entirely – or worse.”

You’re also urged to clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle’s windows, make sure that all of your lights and signals are working and to always turn on your headlights when visibility is poor.

Never drive drowsy. It is estimated that two out of every five drivers report that they’ve fallen asleep at the wheel.

“About one in six fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver,” says Belier.

You are urged to pull over and stop driving or switch with a passenger if you start to feel sleepy at the wheel. You should be driving on at least 6 hours of rest and you should take a break every 100 miles or every two hours.

Lookout for bicyclists.

Because these two-wheeled vehicles are smaller than your vehicle, you may have a hard time seeing them in your mirrors. Keep an eye out of these vulnerable travelers. Bicyclists also hit the open road in full force during the warm summer months. Chicago bicycle accidents are a common cause of serious and fatal injuries.

“Drivers should leave extra stopping space between themselves and riders because they (riders) have far less protection than those inside of other vehicles,” Bleier says.

Watch your speed. Speeding is one of the top contributors to traffic accidents. It contributes to one out of every three reported traffic crashes.

“Drivers are focused on getting to their destination quickly, rather than getting to their destination safely,” says Bleier.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

More Blog Entries:

Pair of fatal auto accidents in the Chicago area highlights dangers of drunk driving, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 14, 2011

16-year-old boy faces murder charges after causing deadly Chicago car crash, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 12, 2011

Pedestrian killed, 2 others injured in Chicago taxicab accident, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 6, 2011

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