High-Risk Driving That Leads To Accidents And Injuries

Many actions during driving can be considered high risk.  Some of these actions increase, perhaps dramatically, the likelihood of an accident.  Given the hazards presented by many of these acts, the likelihood of serious injury is also heightened.  Due to the hazards caused by this negligent driving, many - if not most - of high-risk behaviors are illegal.

This negligence on the part of drivers not only poses a risk to the driver and other vehicle occupants, but also to occupants in other vehicles.  As well, other road users such as pedestrians, runners, bicyclists and motorcyclists can be put in jeopardy.  There are many acts of negligence and carelessness that can lead to people being injured.  Often, innocent people are injured in these crashes.

Types of Risky Driving

There are many actions that can be considered high-risk if taken by a driver.  Among these actions are:

Speeding 

The risk posed by speeding can vary significantly, depending upon many factors.  Among these factors is the extent of the speeding; where the speeding occurs; whether there is other traffic; the skill of the driver; driving conditions; and type of vehicle.  All of these factors, as well as other factors, determine what risk the driver is taking while speeding.

Many statistics indicate that driving at higher speed increases the likelihood of the driver being in an accident.  As well, injuries that occur at higher speeds are more likely to be of greater severity.

Of particular concern is high-speed driving.  Often, this type of driving can involve the driver traveling at speeds approaching if not exceeding 100 mph.  At these speeds controlling the vehicle and the ability to quickly slow or stop the vehicle can become very difficult if not impossible.  Furthermore, most roads are not intended to be driven substantially above the posted speed limit, which also increases the risk of a high-speed loss of control.

Driving Too Fast For Conditions 

If there is adverse weather or other conditions that make vehicle travel hazardous, it can be possible to be driving too fast even if the vehicle is driving at the speed limit.  In the Chicago area, the most common reasons for adverse driving conditions is heavy rain, snow, and ice.  Among the worst conditions is if there is black ice on the roadway, which can be very slick and can easily lead to a loss of vehicle control.

Following The Vehicle Ahead Too Closely

When a driver follows the vehicle ahead too closely the risk of an accident occurring increases.  This behavior is typically referred to as "tailgating."  If a driver is tailgating, the time the driver has to react to the vehicle ahead slowing or stopping is reduced, perhaps dramatically.   Thus, it is important to leave a safe following distance.  The Illinois Rules of the Road recommends a "3-second rule" if driving conditions (weather conditions and road conditions) are good.  More of a following distance is recommended if driving conditions aren't good.  The "3-second rule," and how to determine it, is further discussed in the Rules of the Road.  As seen in the document, the three-second rule dictates a minimum following distance of 309 feet if the vehicle is traveling at 70 mph.

Aggressive Weaving Through Traffic

Some drivers attempt to get through traffic congestion more quickly by "weaving through traffic."  This entails the driver rapidly entering and exiting lanes ("weaving") in order to "get ahead."  In many instances these rapid lane changes are done at higher speeds, which increase the potential hazard posed by this type of driving.  Among the reasons that accidents can occur while a driver weaves through traffic is that the driver can "cut off" other vehicles or can "rear-end" the vehicle ahead if the weaving driver can't stop fast enough to avoid hitting the vehicle ahead.

Shoulder Driving

Some drivers attempt to "get ahead" of other traffic by passing on the shoulder.  The shoulder may be the left shoulder or the right shoulder.  Often, this passing is done at higher speed.  There are various reasons as to why passing on the shoulder is considered to be risky, especially if done at higher speeds.  Often, other drivers are not expecting vehicles to be driving at speed on the shoulders.  Also, such vehicles often attempt at some point to re-enter the main lanes, which can also pose a risk to all vehicles in the area.

Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted continues to be a leading cause of accidents.  Driver distraction can be caused by many different activities.  Any behavior that sufficiently takes the driver's attention from driving can lead to a hazardous situation.  Many Illinois accidents have occurred after the driver loses focus on driving.

Among the most common activities that can cause driver distraction is texting; other phone usage; operating a vehicle's navigation system; and operating the vehicles entertainment system.  As well, eating while driving, talking (and especially arguing), and reading can also created sufficient driver distraction to become dangerous.

Driving While Impaired By Alcohol

Drunk driving has been among the leading traffic safety problems for decades.  Driving while under the influence of alcohol continues to frequently occur.  It has been the cause of many notable crashes, often leading to serious injuries and fatalities.

One type of highly traumatic accident that usually involves a drunk driver has been the "wrong-way driver" crashes.  As seen in many of these crashes that have occurred in the Chicago area, fatalities are common.  Often, these crashes are "head-on" collisions that happen at speed, as the drivers who are lawfully driving often don't have time to react to the vehicle unexpectedly traveling in the wrong direction.

Drunk driving accidents may be significantly undercounted.  Many - if not most - hit & run accidents occur when a drunk driver causes an accident and then leaves the accident scene.  The driver in many cases leaves the accident scene in order to escape blame, penalties and punishment associated with driving while drunk and causing an accident. 

Driving While Impaired By Drugs

In recent years driving while impaired by drugs has been increasing.  It now has reached a level that is estimated to be significant if not substantial.  There have been many Chicago area accidents caused by drug-impaired drivers that have led to serious injuries and fatalities.

While a broad array of drugs have been used by these drug-impaired drivers, among the most common drugs are marijuana, cocaine, heroin and meth.  

The level of resulting driver impairment varies depending upon many factors, including the type of drug, amount of use, and whether one drug is used or many drugs are used.  In instances where more than one drug is used, often referred to as "mixed drug usage," the level of impairment can be increased, perhaps significantly.  Also, if alcohol is consumed during the drug usage the resulting level of impairment can also be increased.

Running Red Lights

Red light running has recently led to a record level of fatalities.  While some people run red lights due to inattentiveness, others do so in order to get through an intersection faster.  As soon as the driver enters the intersection against the light, other road users at the intersection as well as near the intersection can be put at risk.  Not only does an accident become a possibility as the driver enters the intersection, but the type of collision that can occur is typically highly traumatic.  Among the most common type of collision that can occur is the "t-bone collision" when the front of one vehicle violently hits the side of another vehicle.

Other collisions that can occur after the driver's vehicle illegally enters the intersection is a frontal collision when the front of both cars collide.

Often, these accidents occur at significant speeds as the driver who ran the red light is driving quickly, and the other driver traveling through the intersection doesn't have time to slow the vehicle or otherwise avoid the unexpected vehicle.

Failing To Yield

Drivers can fail to yield for a number of reasons.  At times the driver may not notice the existence of another vehicle or another road user that has the right of way, and thus fails to yield.  Perhaps more common is a driver who fails to yield in order to avoid stopping or slowing and thus can more quickly travel through the area.

Failure to yield has led to many accidents.  Often, these accidents have led to serious if not life-threatening injuries.  Many accidents involving failure to yield to motorcyclists, pedestrians or bicyclists lead to fatalities.

One of the most common reasons for motorcycle accidents is when a motorist attempts to turn left, and in doing so drives immediately into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist.  This failure to yield often results in a collision between the turning vehicle and the motorcycle.  Often, this happens because the motorists fails to see the oncoming motorcycle.  In this type of collision, the motorcyclist is usually subjected to a very high degree of trauma.  In most cases the motorcyclist - and if applicable passenger - is often fatally injured.

In pedestrian accidents, one common type of incident is when a motorist fails to yield to people lawfully walking in a crosswalk.  While crosswalks are meant to provide walkers with safe passage while crossing the street, if a driver fails to yield to these pedestrians the people in the crosswalk are in jeopardy of being hit by the vehicle.  As seen in many Chicago pedestrian accidents, when these crosswalk accidents occur the pedestrians are often seriously injured.  In some cases these injuries are life-threatening and fatalities have occurred.

What To Do If Injured In An Accident

For those who have been injured due to accidents caused by another person, there are various steps that should be followed.  These steps are summarized in the "10 Steps You Should Follow After An Auto Accident" page.

These steps are meant to protect the injured person's health as well as preserve the ability to get the highest level of injury compensation.

As discussed above, if a person is driving in a high-risk manner and causes an accident, in many instances the resulting injuries are serious, if not severe, in nature.  Those who are injured due the negligence of this type of driver will often require a significant, if not substantial amount of medical care.  The type and amount of medical care will vary widely depending upon the injuries and their severity.  Among common medical treatment after a vehicle accident is initial medical care performed by paramedics followed by a trip to the hospital emergency room.  At the hospital, various tests and other medical evaluations will seek to determine all of the injuries.  Once the injuries and their severity is determined a proper course of medical treatment can be administered.  This medical treatment can include hospitalization; ongoing testing (including MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, and blood tests); surgeries; various medical procedures; and physical and occupational therapy.

Those who have been injured due to an accident caused by another person often seek injury compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.  This lawsuit can seek compensation for a variety of reasons.  Compensation for medical bills and reimbursement for lost income - if someone is unable to work while recovering from injury - are two primary reasons why injury compensation is sought.  As well, there are other categories of injury compensation, such as pain & suffering and loss of function.  Compensation for expenses, such as property damage and ambulance charges can also be sought.

In accidents where a person has been fatally injured because of another person's negligence relevant parties can seek compensation for this death through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Elman Joseph Law Group has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 25 years.  During this type, the firm has handled many thousand of personal injury lawsuits.  As well, the firm has handled wrongful death lawsuits.

The firm's lawyers have won many notable settlements and court awards.  Due to this level of performance, the lawyers have received various awards and designations.

Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Law Group, offers a free legal consultation to those who have been injured in an accident that wasn't their fault.  During this legal consultation he can answer questions regarding the process of getting injury compensation, as well as answer questions.  He can be reached at 773-392-8182 at any time or at tony@elmanlaw.com

The Elman Joseph Law Group handles all lawsuits on a contingency basis...clients do not pay legal bills unless and until they get compensation.

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Elman Joseph Law Group

Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC has built a reputation on successful court trial performance and will fight to collect the compensation you deserve. Our dedicated team of trial lawyers protects victims' rights in cases of:

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Request a free consultation at our Chicago, IL, practice online, or by calling (773) 392-8182.

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