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When Summer Driving Turns Deadly

An increase of drivers can be expected on the roads this summer season as gas prices continue to remain at a reasonable level. As more families head out and hit the road for vacations or day trips, they are at increased risk for being in a serious car accident because there are more drivers on the road. This is especially true in highly populated areas, such as Chicago and throughout Illinois. 

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Consider the Facts

Despite safer cars and safer roads, the Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates that more than 37,000 people will die in the United States from motor vehicle accidents every year. More than 2.35 million will suffer serious or disabling injuries. Children and young adults under 20 are at a high risk with almost 10,000 being killed each year in crashes.

For 2014, the population of Illinois was calculated to be 12,880,580 people. According to data analyzed by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, it is estimated that drivers in Illinois drove over 104,906 million miles. During 2014, there were 845 fatal crashes that resulted in 924 deaths. These numbers break down to 7.2 deaths per 100,000 of the state's population and 0.88 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

Staying Safe This Summer and Throughout the Year

Before hitting the road this summer, drivers are advised to make sure they are proactive in knowing how to reduce their risk of being involved in a deadly crash. The following actions will help reduce the chance of becoming a statistic:

  • Make sure that the vehicle being driven is in safe working order. Check tires for proper inflation and wear. Replace worn tires if needed because the summer heat can speed up the degradation process.
  • Inspect brakes for proper operation. This allows the driver to stop and possibly avoid being involved in an accident.
  • Know the route to be followed and review it before the start of the trip. Be aware of any road work that may cause hazardous road conditions or traffic tie-ups.
  • Avoid distracted or sleep deprived driving. Texting and using a handheld phone while driving is not only illegal, but it is a leading cause of serious car crashes. Do not drive if overtired and if driving long distances, take frequent breaks.

When an Accident Occurs

The most important thing to do if involved in a car crash is to make sure everyone is safe and receives the medical attention they need. Illinois is considered an at "fault" state. Car accident victims have the right to obtain injury lawyers to file claims against negligent parties. By doing so, they can receive compensation for costs that automobile insurance fails to cover.

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