The intersection of Buffalo Grove Road and Lake Cook Road is a particularly dangerous place to be driving around Buffalo Grove, Illinois. A recent car accident in Buffalo Grove involving two vehicles highlights the danger present at the intersection. The accident resulted in serious injuries, with at least three people being transported to a local hospital.
The village of approximately 42,000 residents located within Lake and Cook counties. Lake Cook Road splits the city into two portions: Lake County Vernon Township and Cook County Wheeling Township. The road runs east-to-west through Cook, Lake, McHenry and Kane counties for approximately 25 miles.
Lake Cook Road is one of the major arterial roads located within the city. Others include Milwaukee Avenue, Weiland Road, Arlington Heights Road, Dundee Road, Deerfield Parkway and Half Day Road, among others. Towards the center of the village runs Buffalo Grove Road; it runs from north-to-south and intersects with Lake Cook Road near Emmerich East Park.
A Walgreens and St. Mary Parish sit on opposite sides of the busy intersection. There are four lanes of traffic on each road, plus a total of four left turn lanes at the intersection. Each left turn lane is controlled by a separate traffic light.
Why the Buffalo Grove Intersection so vulnerable to Car Accidents
There are several reasons why the intersection is dangerous. First, as major arterial routes for residents, the intersection of the two roads is highly congested. Secondly, there is a positive correlation between the number of lanes and accidents at intersections. A higher number of lanes leads to driver confusion and more frequent lane changes, both of which can contribute to a greater number of auto accidents. Finally, believe it or not, traffic-light-controlled intersection may result in a greater number of auto accidents. This is especially true where both pedestrians and bicyclists are present.
A study conducted several years ago, entitled “Dangerous Crossings: The Relationship Between Intersections and Crashes” examined accidents at intersections involving pedestrians and bicyclists. The study found that traffic-light-controlled intersections are more than nine times as likely to have fatal car accidents involving cars and bicycles or pedestrians than expected. However, intersections with stop signs were only 1.48 times as likely to involve a fatality, while noncontrolled were 0.5 times as likely to involve a fatal accident. Interestingly enough, the study also found that intersections with four or more roads leading into it are 2.4 times more likely to experience a fatal accident.
A higher rate of auto accidents at traffic-light-controlled intersections may seem counter-intuitive. However, there are several possible explanations. First, intersections with traffic lights are generally more congested than those with stop signs or non-controlled intersections. Secondly, many drivers simply ignore the signals. The statistics involving traffic-light-controlled intersections are sobering:
- More than one-third of drivers admit to running a traffic light that had just turned red when they could have safely come to a stop.
- An estimated 165,000 auto accidents occur annually at intersections as a result of drivers running red lights.
- In 2017, 890 people died as a result of drivers running a red light.
- Among drivers involved in fatal red light running multiple-vehicle crashes in 2017, the violators were more likely to be males, younger and to have had prior accidents and/or alcohol related driving convictions. Moreover, the violators were more likely to be speeding, alcohol impaired, and less likely to have a valid driver’s license.
Red Light Cameras
I recently wrote about intersection safety tips. And while intersection safety can go a long way towards reducing the number of auto accidents, it is not enough. I have been a car accident lawyer for many years. During such time I have witnessed far too many accidents occurring on roadways. In addition to traffic flow improvements, local intersections could benefit from the use of red-light cameras. While none of us are fans of receiving violations in the mail, often for some red-light we do not even remember blowing, the simple fact is that red light cameras work. They significantly reduce the number of accidents occurring at intersections. In addition, yellow light times that meet established guidelines are particularly effective in reducing the number of accidents.
If yellow lights are too long, drivers will typically disregard the warning and treat it as if the light is green. The Federal government recommends yellow lights that last between 3 and 6 seconds. Yellow lights should be long enough to allow drivers to prepare for a right-of-way change but not too long as it could increase the number of red-light runners.
Red-light cameras were first implemented in the 1990s. They have since sprung up in neighborhoods throughout the country. Critics argue that the cameras invade the right to privacy (courts have held that they do not since driving is not a private activity) and actually increase the number of drivers running red-lights. However, the Federal Highway Association has found that red-light cameras have had a significant impact on reducing auto accidents. Statistics from IIHS have found that in red light camera intersections:
- Fatal crashes at intersections were reduced by 14%
- Injuries resulting from red-light running related crashes decreased by 29%
- Red light running related fatal crashes declined by 21%
In areas were red-light camera use was curtailed:
- There was a 30% increase in red-light running related fatal crashes
- There was a 16% increase in the number of fatal crashes at intersections
The roadways in Buffalo Grove are not safe. Intersections are congested and in need of improved traffic flow and safety mechanisms. Until the village of Buffalo Grove acts to make our roadways safer, it is important to drive safely. Practice defensive driving at intersections. If you or anyone you know has been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced Buffalo Grove personal injury lawyer today to discuss your rights.