You would like to think other drivers are concerned about safe driving and always follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are many ways a driver can be negligent on the road, and running a red light is one of them. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers reported running a red light in the past 30 days, making this a massive traffic problem. An estimated 165,000 motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians are injured annually by red-light runners.
Here is why red light running is a dangerous habit that all drivers should break. And if you were in an accident where the at-fault driver ran a red light, you’ll want to hire an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer.
Why Drivers Run Red Lights?
For the most part, many drivers do not run red lights on purpose. The light turns yellow, and the driver speeds up to make the light. Then, they pass the light just as it turns red. Even though this is illegal, it is a simple misjudgment and usually does not cause an accident.
Some run red lights because the driver is impatient or in a hurry. They do not see any police officers and think they are in the clear to cross. What these drivers do not understand is arriving at their destination earlier is not worth the risk of harming another driver.
Of course, some drivers are simply reckless on the road. These drivers do not care about safety and think breaking traffic laws is edgy. Some drivers even race each other for fun, and they may run red lights to try to win.
Consequences of Running a Red Light
When a driver decides to run a red light, they face possible traffic penalties, injury, and even death. Here are the consequences of running a red light.
Chicago is number five on the Most Dangerous Cities for Red Light Running list. With a large population and many drivers on the road, it is more likely that a red-light-running will result in disastrous crashes and fatalities.
Here is an example of one story. At the beginning of 2022, a motorist ran a red light in Waukegan and caused a four-vehicle crash, resulting in the death of another driver.
Why are running-red-light crashes so deadly? These crashes cause disastrous collisions, such as a T-bone crash. A T-bone crash is when the motorist hits the side of another car, killing the individual sitting on that side. The at-fault driver was likely speeding, making the collision even more severe.
Red-light-running crashes can also cause serious injuries.
As stated previously, red light running often causes T-bone collisions. Since there is hardly any protection on the side of the car, the motorist is more likely to sustain serious injuries such as broken bones and whiplash. It is also more likely that the car will flip over and roll, causing back injuries and nerve damage that may leave motorists paralyzed.
Even if the motorist running a red light does not get in a serious accident, they could still face legal penalties if caught. Chicago has a red light camera enforcement program, so motorists get caught even when no police officers are around. If a motorist is caught running a red light, the penalty is $100.
How to Avoid a Red Light Accident
Even if you do not run red lights, you should always stay vigilant while on the road for drivers who may not be as careful. These tips will help you avoid getting hit when crossing an intersection.
Do Not Speed
You may stop at red lights but may still speed through an intersection. Speeding alone has many dangers, such as losing vehicle control, inability to brake on time, and reduced reactions. All of these problems can cause a car accident.
Drive through an intersection slowly, gradually increasing your speed after you cross. Never leave at the last minute. If you have to be somewhere on time, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Pay Attention to Traffic
Paying attention to traffic flow is one of the most vital rules of the road, though many drivers do not think about it. Unfortunately, many drivers are on their phones while behind the wheel of a car. It is also easy to space out, thinking of other things rather than the other nearby motorists.
However, this rule can prevent a disastrous collision–especially when crossing an intersection. This rule is integral when traffic is heavy. When you pay attention to other motorists, you can see reckless drivers before they approach you.
Pause Before Moving Through the Intersection
Since most red-light runners cross when their light immediately turns red, pausing before moving through a green light can prevent an accident. It only takes a few seconds for a motorist to cause an accident, so look in all directions before accelerating.
However, do not pause for too long. The drivers behind you may become impatient, making it more likely that they will drive recklessly. You should not pause for more than three seconds–just long enough to look at all other cars in an intersection and ensure no one is acting recklessly.
How a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Even if you are a safe driver, accidents can still happen–especially when someone runs a red light.
If you are a victim of a car accident and the at-fault driver ran a red light, it is essential to hire an experienced car accident attorney in Chicago. Your attorney will gather all the necessary evidence to prove the driver ran a red light and was at fault. This evidence may include witness testimonies, surveillance footage, medical records, traffic tickets, and crash reports.
You also do not have the legal expertise to handle insurance company claims. Insurance companies frequently take advantage of claimants who are not represented and may only offer a minimal settlement that will not cover all of your damages.
This is why having a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side is always a good idea. They have the knowledge and skills to battle with insurance companies and to negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries and damages.
Damages You Can Claim
When your Chicago personal injury lawyer files a claim with the insurance company, they will obtain the necessary documentation to support your damages claims. Some of the damages you can claim include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering (past and future)
- Hospital expenses
- Surgical expenses
- Ambulatory services
- Rehab costs
- Funeral expenses if the injuries led to death
These damages include economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cost you money, such as medical bills. Non-economic damages are funds awarded to victims to cover the accident’s impact on their well-being. For example, if your spouse was seriously injured in a car accident, even if you were not involved, you can potentially claim damages for your loss of consortium.
Hire a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
If you were in a car accident and the at-fault driver ran a red light, you have the right to file a claim to recover your losses. But you should not handle insurance companies alone. An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer will ensure that your case is handled properly, ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free case review.