Located less than 40 miles from Chicago along the Fox River, Elgin is one of the largest cities in Illinois, with a population of about 110,000 people, which already puts it at a higher risk of accidents, since population organically generates added traffic.
But because Interstate 90, the longest and one of the most heavily trafficked interstates in the country borders the city, there is more traffic in the area, making it a prime location for not only tractor-trailer traffic, but also truck-related accidents.
Whether you’re going to the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin on South Grove Avenue, a tourist destination that draws four million visitors a year, or are headed to classes at Elgin Community College on Spartan Drive, truck accidents are a possibility, and requires proactive driving.
Causes of Elgin Truck Accidents
In 2016, a 25-year-old motorcycle driver was killed just south of Elgin when a semi made a left turn in front of him, cutting the motorcyclist off.
A year later, his family filed a wrongful death suit against the driver, who was ticketed for making a wrongful left turn, as well as his company. The suit said the driver violated state law by failing to yield, failing to maintain control of his vehicle to avoid a collision, inattentive driving and driving too fast for conditions.
According to the driver, he thought the motorcyclist had flashed his lights at him, giving him permission to make the turn, until he saw the motorcycle skid out of control.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of truck accident, especially if drivers are traveling on unfamiliar roads and are turning to their GPS system for guidance.
A distracted driver may not notice oncoming traffic because he or she is talking on a cell phone or texting, changing the radio station or multi-tasking by eating behind the wheel.
Other common truck-related accidents are caused by:
- Driver fatigue. Because drivers are often driving under strict deadlines that require them to deliver or pick up freight at a set time, they often spend more time behind the wheel that is either safe or legal. Drivers who have altered log books – a way to bypass regulations regarding how much time they drive and rest – are at a risk of slower response times to road hazards, confusion in constructions zones or other congested areas, or falling asleep at the wheel.
- Driving under the influence. Drivers who are on the road for long hours may turn to stimulants including methamphetamine or cocaine in order to keep them awake. Those same drivers may also find themselves turning to drugs and/or alcohol to help them manage the stress of being away from family for long periods of time.
- Equipment failure. Trucks that are not regularly inspected are at risk of brake or engine failure. Tires are also required to be inspected regularly, because tires with worn tread are more likely to rupture on the road, sending debris into traffic and creating a potential hazard for oncoming traffic.
- Blind spots. Because of their size, trucks have multiple blind spots, which makes switching lanes and merging into traffic potentially dangerous of a driver isn’t careful about checking for blind spots.
- Aggressive driving. Truckers who are behind due to slow traffic, construction or other delays may drive aggressively in order to make up time, which is especially dangerous in urban areas such as Elgin.
- Inexperienced drivers. Companies that are eager to move cargo but are short-staffed may not take measures to ensure that new hires are properly trained behind the wheel, even though many truck driving schools have been under fire for failing to properly train students.
- Rear-end crashes. Truckers may not be prepared for slowed traffic, which is common in urban areas, and if they are not alert, because it takes them longer to slow down than passenger cars, they could rear-end a stopped vehicle, causing potentially catastrophic injuries.
Potential injuries from truck accidents include back and neck problems, broken bones and internal injuries, but truck-passenger vehicles are also at a high risk of fatalities, because tractor-trailers are so much bigger than passenger vehicles. (Semis can weigh as much as 125,000 pounds when fully loaded with freight, compared to a passenger car, which weighs about 4,000 pounds.)
Elgin Truck Accident Danger Zones
For drivers who have been stuck in Chicago traffic, interstate speed limits shift from 55 to 65, giving drivers the ability to boost their speed to make up for any delays they experienced while traveling through the city.
Certainly I-90 is one of the most dangerous roadways for truck-related accidents, but it is not the only area where truck accidents occur.
Some of the most dangerous Elgin-area roadways, based on recent statistics, include:
- Illinois Highway 72 and Randall Road
- Illinois Highway 20 and Grove Street
- Illinois Highway 20 and McCormack Road
- Plank Road and Switzer Road
- Plank Road and Marshall Road
- Industrial Drive and Higgins Road
- Elgin Street and Tyrrell Road
If you are sharing the road with a semi, remember to drive defensively so that you are less likely to need an experienced attorney to handle your case in the event of an accident. If you are looking to file a lawsuit or get representation for your or a loved ones injury, get in touch with our team.