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How Dangerous Are Illinois Highways

Updated: Jul 15

The nonprofit Reason Foundation states that Illinois ranks in the middle of the pack, ranking as the 27th safest state in the nation for traffic fatalities. Although Illinois ranks 15th for fatal accidents in rural areas, death rates for crashes in urban areas are cause for concern.

Fatalities Do Not Tell the Entire Story

Many people tout a state's road safety based on fatality rankings. Rankings, however, do not represent the entire picture. For example, Chicago drivers may face far more dangers than motorists in rural Illinois. I-94 is ranked as one of the top ten deadliest highways in the entire country. It does nothing for a driver on that road to know about Illinois' overall fatality figures, because those could be skewed by the less dangerous areas.

Illinois' urban areas are far more dangerous because of the extreme traffic in the area. Chicago is the third most congested city in the country, and its traffic ranks seventh in the entire world. Congested roads mean more accident risks. When drivers and trucks share packed urban roadways, there is less room to maneuver and avoid accidents when one motorist makes a mistake.

Truck Traffic and Construction Zones in Illinois

Accident risk is compounded by the fact that truck traffic is up across the state as more people shop online. In the suburban Chicago area, these drivers try to navigate through a "spaghetti bowl" of roadways that are jammed at all hours of the day.

In addition, Illinois' urban areas also have decaying roadways and continuous construction. According to Motor Trend, 28.8% of urban roads in Chicago are in disrepair. This is a far worse rate than in many major U.S. cities. The potholes in Chicago are notorious, and they get even worse after a harsh Illinois winter.

I-94 also seems to be a continuous construction zone, and I-55 is not much better. There are major road reconstruction projects that cause dangers for drivers. Construction zones introduce sudden changes to the roadway, and other drivers often do not take the care that they need. There are roughly 40,000 injuries in work zones each year nationally.

People who are injured in accidents on Chicago's roadways may be able to recover compensation for their losses. An injury attorney could advise on whether one has a viable legal claim after a crash.

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