Chicago.cbslocal.com reports that two serious accidents occurred last Tuesday on Interstate 94 when a driver lost control of his vehicle due to black ice. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers learned that at approximately 12:01pm, a 51-year old driver was westbound on the interstate at the 39.5-mile marker in the middle lane when he began to lose control of his van. As a result, the van hit a guardrail and spun around, striking the guardrail three additional times. Preliminary investigation revealed that the driver of the vehicle was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured. His 50-year-old passenger, however, was not wearing a seatbelt and was taken to a nearby hospital after the accident. The van is reported to have sustained a significant amount of damage.
To make matters worse, a local fire department responded to the scene to assist with removing both men from the van and was partially blocking the right lane. An oncoming semi truck hauling a rail container was in the middle lane when its driver, a 52-year old of Harwood Heights, Illinois, braked before moving into the left lane as he approached the crash scene. The semi lost control, jack-knifed, and the trailer’s right rear struck the center left side of the parked fire truck. The driver of the fire truck was seat belted and remained uninjured, while the fire truck sustained a small amount of damage.
From the perspective of our law firm, there are three primary factors that played a part in the above accident’s occurrence, the first being black ice. Illinois State Police would like to remind all motorists that with low temperatures, black ice can form on roadways when moisture from vehicles’ exhaust condenses on the road surface. This causes a thin coating of glazed ice on the road that can be almost transparent. Bridges and overpasses are said to be especially dangerous in these conditions. It is important to motorists to remain aware for these conditions and use extreme caution while driving.
A second factor that potentially contributed to the injuries sustained by the passenger of the van is the fact that he was not wearing a seatbelt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50%. It is the single most effective thing any motorists can do to protect themselves in a crash. Just last year, buckling up saved over 13,000 lives. Choosing to wear a seatbelt is such a small decision to make, but its consequences can be large.
Finally, the fire truck that responded to the scene led to a semi truck driver changing lanes and losing control of his vehicle. Chain reaction collisions similar to this can cause serious injury to those involved, especially if they include semi trucks or other large commercial vehicles. While the parked fire truck can be seen as an obvious cause for the semi driver to lose control, it also may be due to the truck driver tailgating or failing to maintain a safe distance from others on the interstate. Allowing a distance of ten feet in between you and the vehicle in front of you is advised for every ten miles per hour you are traveling. For example, if you are traveling at 60 miles per hour, this distance would be sixty feet. Heavier vehicles like semi trucks and trailers require longer distances, and distance should also be increased between all vehicles while driving in poor weather conditions. Rule of thumb, if you know you wouldn’t be able to stop your vehicle within the distance you are following another, then you are most likely driving way too close.
By addressing all of these factors that contributed to the above accident occurring, we hope that all motorists will be more aware of the steps that need to be taken to help reduce the risk of an accident occurring. There are unfortunately many accidents that are caused by negligent or careless drivers, causing potential injury and fatality to those involved.
Our law firm provides qualified legal representation to individuals and families who have been in an accident as the result of negligent motorists. Accident lawsuits help victims recover compensation for injuries or costs experienced as a result of an accident. If you or someone you know has suffered injury or death due to a negligent motorist, please contact us for more information.