According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, approximately 1,000 people die every year Illinois due to automobile crashes. Additionally, nearly 100,000 people suffer injuries in accidents. Driving is dangerous, period, but the danger is multiplied around Chicago's busiest intersections. The best thing a driver can do is obey the speed limit, traffic signs, and signals, and always be vigilant for the presence of pedestrians and cyclists. However, it doesn't hurt to be extra careful when passing through Chicago's most dangerous intersections, which is why FindLaw has created this guide to the most dangerous roadways in Chicago.
Beware where six lanes of speedy Stony Island Ave. traffic meet 79th Ave. at a diagonal intersection while simultaneously linking up with the Chicago Skyway above. This intersection has countless issues; it is too complicated for motorists and pedestrians alike, too busy with over 70,000 on any given day, forces lane shifting due to the railway and has too many red light runners (beware of the red light cameras, by the way). Stony Ave. at Chicago is the single most dangerous intersection in Chicago, tallying over 60 accidents in an average year. Be safe by avoiding it altogether, but if you must pass through, map out your directions ahead of time and don't try to beat a yellow light.
Too many lanes, too much traffic, and nearby car dealerships combine to make Western and Peterson dangerous and deadly. Approximately 50 accidents occur at this intersection each year. Watch your speed, look out for red light runners, and cars pulling out of parking lots and you'll make it through unscathed.
This intersection is confusing due to the nearby diagonal one-way roads on both sides of the underpass that lead to Kennedy Expressway. The saying "look both ways" doesn't apply to this intersection as you must maintain total awareness of three or sometimes four different merging lanes. Just plan your route out in advance and try not to block the stop lights on either side of the underpass.
The main thing to remember at this South Chicago intersection is to obey traffic signs. The main source of confusion are the two right turn lanes; only the right-most lane is allowed to make a right turn on a red light, but often motorists panic or disregard the restriction, make an illegal right turn and are quickly rear-ended by the speedy La Grange traffic. The silver lining is that almost all these crashes only result in property damage, but who needs repair bills in their life? Also, note the Bollingbrook offramp from I-55 suffers from a nearly identical problem. Both of these intersections see about 50 accidents on a typical year.
If you've been paying attention, a common theme through this article is that on-ramps and off-ramps are particularly dangerous throughout Chicagoland. Cicero and 127th is no exception, as drivers must navigate six lanes of traffic one direction and four the other, plus cars merging to and from 294 nearby.
Diagonal roads tend to be the most dangerous for bikers, and Milwaukee Ave. may be the worst. Especially take care on Milwaukee between North and Division, as this ultra-hazardous 0.7 mile stretch accounts for about 50 biker injuries on any given year. Also look out on this road between Fullerton and Armitage, which tallies about 30 injuries a year.
Diagonal roads are trouble for cyclists. Lincoln and Clark feed into the Loop with too much traffic and no bike lanes. The most common causes of cyclist injuries are motorists failing to yield to bicycles and bikers trying to ride against traffic. Stay in your own lane and never assume drivers see you when passing an intersection to be safe.
Contact a qualified attorney.