Statistics regarding motor vehicle accidents in the United States of America are shocking. According to the NHTSA, 36,096 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019, and many others were left with injuries. In the same year, an estimated 1,010 people died, and 89,133 people suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents in Illinois.
While some car accidents are unavoidable, many car accidents are avoidable. Most car accidents in America are caused by driver negligence. Unfortunately, too many motorists engage in negligent behaviors while on the road, resulting in accidents that cause injuries and death.
Below are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Illinois and throughout the U.S.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in Illinois and throughout the U.S.
According to the NHTSA, more than 2,800 people in America died in 2019 in crashes that involved a distracted motorist. Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in another activity that takes their attention away from driving. Many people know that texting and driving is distracted driving. However, not many people know that behaviors such as using a navigation system while driving, eating while driving, applying makeup while driving, and talking with other passengers are forms of distracted driving.
The CDC states that anything that takes a driver’s attention away from driving can be a distraction. There are three main types of distractions. They are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. A visual distraction occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road. A manual distraction occurs when a driver takes their hand(s) off the steering wheel. And finally, a cognitive distraction occurs when a driver takes their mind off driving.
2. Drunk Driving
A driver who gets behind the wheel while drunk is a danger to themselves and other road users. According to the NHTSA, approximately 32 people in America die every day in drunk driving accidents. That means that every 45 minutes, one person loses their life in a drunk driving accident. Here in Illinois, of the 938 fatal traffic crashes that occurred in 2019, it is estimated that 27.1% of them involved alcohol.
Alcohol impairs thinking and reduces the brain’s functions. It also impairs muscle coordination and reasoning. For a driver to operate a vehicle safely, they need to be thinking clearly, and their brain needs to be functioning well. To drive a car safely, a driver needs to be reasoning well, and they need to be able to coordinate muscle movements. For example, a driver must be able to execute and coordinate muscular movements to control the vehicle.
3. Drowsy Driving
Drowsy or fatigued driving is another common cause of car accidents in Illinois and throughout America. The human body needs enough sleep. When a driver misses many hours of sleep, it becomes hard for them to perform well when behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is especially a problem with trucks. Because trucks transporting cargo usually get paid by the load, truck drivers may choose to stay behind the wheel when they should be resting. Unfortunately, this can result in catastrophic accidents. For example, when a tired truck driver hits a passenger vehicle, the results can be disastrous because trucks are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles.
According to studies, missing many hours of sleep can impact a driver’s ability to drive the same way as drinking too much alcohol. Studies suggest that staying up for at least eighteen hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.05%. And staying up for at least twenty-four hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.10%.
4. Following Too Closely
Rear-end accidents are quite common in Illinois. Often, rear-end collisions happen because of an unsafe driving practice known as “tailgating.” When the car behind follows the car in front too closely, the driver behind is said to be tailgating. This behavior is considered negligent. According to Illinois law, it is an offense for a vehicle to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent.
Excessive speed is to blame for a lot of car accidents. Unfortunately, many drivers do not see the problem with driving faster than the posted speed limit. Drivers need to remember that the faster a person drives, the slower their reaction time. In other words, speeding increases the chances of an accident happening.
6. Unsafe Lane Changes
Before passing another vehicle, a driver must ensure they have enough room to get in front of the other car. If there is not enough room to pass a vehicle and get in front of them, it is best to avoid passing. Also, drivers should always use their blinkers when changing lanes to let other road users know they are about to change lanes. For example, if you change lanes without indicating, the other drivers cannot adjust their driving accordingly, and that can result in an accident.
7. Failure To Yield
In Illinois, “failure to yield” car accidents happen quite a lot. Unfortunately, such accidents can result in severe injuries and even death. According to the law, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to avoid causing an accident. For example, in Illinois, when two cars approach an intersection from different roads at the same time, the driver on the left is required to yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.
8. Aggressive Driving
Speeding, unsafe lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, and tailgating can be forms of aggressive driving. Other forms of aggressive driving that can cause accidents include;
- Running red lights
- Failing to obey stop signs
- Ignoring signals from other motorists
- Driving illegally on the shoulder
Contact the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC for Legal Help
We hope you’ve found this information on the most common causes of car accidents in Illinois helpful. Injured car accident victims and surviving family members deserve compensation. It is your right as an injured car accident victim or surviving family member of someone who died in a car crash to recover compensation from an at-fault party.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an Illinois car accident because of another driver’s negligence, contact our qualified auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC.. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve.