Unfortunately, as a Gurnee Illinois car accident lawyer I am all too familiar with the hazardous road conditions located throughout the village and in Lake County. A fatal car accident that occurred about a week ago is part of a troubling pattern of serious car accidents occurring in and around Gurnee.
On February 10, 2020, a woman was involved in a fatal car accident in Gurnee Illinois. The accident occurred near the intersection of Route 41 and Route 21. The 70-year old woman had rear-ended another vehicle and fled the scene near the intersection of Fuller Road and Sterns School Road. The woman continued about a ½ mile before colliding with a semi-truck that was turning onto Route 41 at the intersection. The woman was subsequently pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. According to Lake County car accident statistics, compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation, this is already the 6th fatal car accident in the county this year.
Lake County Illinois Car Accident Statistics
According to the Department of Transportation, there were 43 fatal car accidents in Lake County in 2019. This represents a slight increase from 40 fatal car accidents in 2018. To be sure, fatal car accidents represent a small percentage of annual car accidents in Illinois. For instance, in 2017, there were 311,679 car crashes in Illinois. There were injuries in 21.5% of these cases, and fatalities in slightly less than 1%.
In Lake County, the most common type of car accidents are rear-end collisions. The second most common type are accidents when turning. Rear-end collisions typically occur where one or more drivers are not paying attention. They tend to occur more frequently in areas of heavy traffic like on city streets. For this reason, populated areas like Gurnee or Lake County in general are susceptible to rear-end collisions like the fatal car accident in Gurnee Illinois that occurred on February 10th.
Factors contributing to dangerous driving conditions in Gurnee Illinois
We mentioned above that accidents, particularly rear-end collisions, are more likely to occur in heavy traffic. Gurnee is home to some 31,000 residents. While not a particularly large number, the village’s residents are packed into a fairly tight area. The population density in the village is 2,318.7 people per square mile. Gurnee borders Waukegan, the county seat for Lake County. The city is the 9th largest city in Illinois. Gurnee is also the home of Six Flags Great America and Gurnee Mills which help to make the city a popular tourist destination. In fact, over 26 million people visit Gurnee each year.
The main highway serving Gurnee is Interstate 94. Both Milwaukee and Chicago are easily accessible from Gurnee via I-94. Interstate 94 runs through Lake County. Lake County is home to 703,462 residents, making it the third-most populous county in the state of Illinois. All of these factors lead to crowded roadways and an increased risk of car accidents.
Another factor historically contributing to Gurnee Illinois car accident is the cold and slick winter weather that leads to dangerous road conditions. Icing on bridges like Grand Avenue in Gurnee running over I-94 is particularly bad. According to statistics, there are more than 150,000 car accidents annually due to icy roads. In fact, 17% of all vehicle crashes in the United States occur in winter conditions.
Unfortunately, there is not much residents can do to escape crowded streets or the cold Illinois weather. There are, however, some precautions you can take to avoid a Gurnee Illinois car accident.
Safe driving tips to Avoid a Gurnee Illinois Car Accident
At the outset, it is worth stating that if you have the luxury of avoiding the roadways during peak travel times, or not driving in wintery conditions, that will always be your best bet. If you are like most of us, however, driving during these times are simply unavoidable.
Here are some safe driving tips you can follow when driving in heavy traffic.
- Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. A good rule of thumb is at least 3 seconds between the two cars. Frequent and sudden stops in heavy traffic are common. Maintaining a safe distance will keep you from becoming another rear-end car accident statistic.
- Pay attention. Avoid eating or using your cell phone while driving.
- Use your blinkers when changing lanes. Many accidents occur when changing lanes or turning because drivers do not signal their intent and/or check their blind spots.
- Use navigation apps with traffic updates. Modern technology has made it much easier to avoid congested roadways. Apps like Waze help you to take the shortest route. The app also points out dangerous road conditions, such as stopped vehicles. Finally, knowing where you are going helps cut down on sudden and dangerous maneuvers, like trying to get off at an exit at the very last second.
Winter Weather Safe Driving Tips for Gurnee Roads
- Drive slowly. Go slower than the speed limit if necessary and allow more room for stopping.
- Increase your following distance. Extend your normal following distance of 3 seconds to 5 or 6. Decreased traction means your car will not stop in the same time as normal conditions.
- Avoid stopping…if you can. If you are able to gradually slow down when approaching a red light, for instance, that is preferable to using your brakes.
- Do not stop going up a hill. Slippery roadways can make traversing hills extremely difficult and dangerous. Stopping on an icy or snowy hill can not only lead you to get stuck, but it can create dangerous conditions for other drivers. Use your momentum to safely carry you to the top.
By following these tips and other safe driving habits, you will greatly contribute to making the roadways in and around Gurnee safer.
If you have been involved in a car accident, contact an experienced Gurnee Illinois car accident attorney to discuss your rights and options.