Chicago drivers often encounter dangerous intersections throughout the city due to urban planning and construction projects, poor road designs, faulty traffic signals, and heavy vehicle congestion.
Chicago Drivers Beware
Dangerous intersections in Chicago contribute to hundreds of severe accidents and fatalities. Each year, it’s estimated that over 400 deaths are caused by deteriorating road conditions, unsafe road designs, faulty or missing traffic signals, and heavy traffic. In Chicago, unsafe road conditions and heavy traffic congestion cost the average driver about $3,000 per year in car repairs and accident and injury claims.
As one of the world’s busiest cities, Chicago experiences a high rate of traffic accidents and injuries. Although many crashes are caused by speeding and drunk drivers, a significant number are caused by hazardous intersections that put drivers at risk. Dangerous intersection conditions include:
- Faulty or non-working traffic signals
- Missing street signs
- Unclear turn directions
- Too many traffic lanes
- Poor lighting
- Lack of crosswalks or bicycle lanes
In addition to the above dangers, Chicago also experiences a variety of urban planning projects throughout the city. City officials give precedence to highway and road safety, but projects often involve heavy construction that creates traffic congestion and increased accident risks for drivers, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
Chicago’s Most Dangerous Intersections
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has performed traffic studies in both urban and rural areas throughout the state. Some of the worst conditions were found in dangerous Chicago intersections in different areas of the city. The most dangerous intersection was discovered on Chicago’s South Side at Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accident reports, this South Side intersection is also one of the most dangerous intersections in Illinois.
The intersection at the crossroads of Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue borders four Chicago neighborhoods: Avalon Park; Greater Grand Crossing; South Chicago; and South Shore. It is a six-way intersection that sits below several entrance and exit ramps to the Chicago Skyway. Chicago car accident attorneys witness a high rate of severe injuries at this South Side intersection because the beams create visibility problems for drivers. Injuries include facial lacerations, eye injuries and vision loss, broken bones, spinal cord damage, nerve damage including partial and complete paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries.
In addition to the Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue intersection, NHTSA also notes dangerous intersections in other areas of the city. The following locations are listed as highly dangerous Chicago intersections:
Belmont and Kedzie
Located below the Kenney underpass, the Belmont/Kedzie intersection is dangerous because it is hard for drivers to see it. Trucks and cars that enter and exit the expressway seem to come out of nowhere, and drivers often don’t have adequate time to slow down or stop. The overpass blocks clear vision for drivers under the expressway.
Cicero and I-55
Located close to the Midway International Airport, the Cicero/I-55 intersection is commonly filled with vehicles headed to and from the airport for travel. There is always heavy traffic, leading to accidents caused by impatient drivers and rushed travelers. This intersection houses one of the most profitable red light cameras in Chicago.
Cicero, Irving Park, and Milwaukee
This intersection is located adjacent to several shopping centers and numerous side streets that point in all directions. With six corners, the Cicero/Irving Park/Milwaukee intersection is considered a triple threat by law enforcement because it increases accident and injury risks for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Damen, North, and Milwaukee
The surrounding area at this Wicker Park intersection is filled with cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. It’s a busy intersection with lots of shoppers looking for popular retail stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. Heavy traffic congestion in this area is common, often backed up in three different directions. Drivers are often distracted and not paying attention to traffic signals.
Peterson Avenue and Western Avenue
This area is filled with busy car dealerships that attract hundreds of shoppers looking for new vehicles. Peterson and Western are both heavily traveled streets where drivers are distracted by one car dealership after another. Many collisions at this intersection are caused by drivers who slam into other drivers who slow down or stop to peer at vehicles for sale.
Car accidents often happen suddenly when least expected. While some fender benders result in minor scrapes and bruises, collisions at high speeds often result in death. Chicago drivers, as well as pedestrians and cyclists, should be aware of dangerous intersections in the city and take extra precautions while in those locations to avoid severe injuries caused by poor road conditions, faulty traffic signals, heavy traffic congestion, and distracted or impaired drivers.