Every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you’re taking on some risks. But no matter where you live, there are places where most drivers know to be extra cautious. Belleville and the surrounding communities are no different. There are well known “danger zones” where car accidents happen again and again.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be a victim of a crash, you’ll want to contact a car accident lawyer in Belleville with experience in the area. The lawyers at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC are located in the West End of Belleville. They drive the same roads, experience the same traffic hazards as you do, and most importantly, can help you get fair compensation for your property and injuries.
Worst Places in Belleville for Car Accidents
We can think of several instances of dangerous traffic conditions in Belleville and all over the Metro East. Saturday afternoon shopping at Green Mount Commons or Belleville Crossing are two examples.
If you’ve ever had to cross all four lanes of North Belt West, or navigate near Belleville East or SWIC when classes let out, you can relate.
There are some traffic features that are common in Belleville that almost certainly contribute to accidents that involve property damage and personal injury. Roundabouts like the one around the fountain downtown are popping up elsewhere in the Metro East. People who design our roads see roundabouts as a great way to avoid bottlenecks at stoplights. But drivers aren’t always clear about who has the right-of-way, so accidents can happen.
The middle turn lane is another common—and potentially dangerous—Metro East sight. Like the roundabout, the right-of-way isn’t always obvious. It’s easy for drivers to misunderstand the other’s intentions, especially if they fail to use turn signals. Also, using the lane to merge into traffic is a violation, but we see it all the time.
A study of traffic counts in 2013 showed some of the busiest intersections in Belleville were IL 159 & South Belt East, Frank Scott Parkway where it crosses North Belt West and South Belt West, Lebanon Avenue at Green Mount and at Douglas, and IL 13/15 & Green Mount Road. And we all know how much busier these and other intersections have become in the years since then.
In a 2017 Belleville News Democrat article, the Illinois State Police listed the roads with the most crashes. They were Illinois 158, and State Routes 4, 13, 15, 161, and 177. The contributing factors that they witnessed most were distracted driving and high rates of speed, especially in rural areas. Believe it or not, we see such cases quite often in our role as a car accident lawyer in Belleville.
Dangerous Drivers are Everywhere
Whether you’re in Belleville or anywhere else in the country, some roadways seem to be naturally prone to car accidents. Curves or hills can make it hard to see oncoming cars. Obstructions like trees and signs at intersections can impact visibility. Pulling out onto busy roads with multiple lanes poses a hazard.
Add the human element to these traffic situations and they become an even greater risk. Speeding, illegal driving maneuvers, and aggressive or distracted driving are the cause of most car accidents.
There are some spots in every town where people tend to have more wrecks.
A stretch of road will often have multiple shopping centers, one after the next. Think of IL 159 through Fairview Heights. In busy areas like that one, the road can be several lanes wide, with several stoplights and even double turn lanes. This means a lot of cars pulling in and out, going every which way, possibly crossing multiple lanes.
These busy areas can be the site of fender-benders as well as serious car crashes. Drivers need to pay attention near shopping centers. Someone who’s not paying attention as they navigate several lane changes or who doesn’t slow down for traffic entering the parking lot can cause a wreck.
Inattentive drivers are a danger within parking lots too. Carelessness can cause property damage to parked cars and personal injury to pedestrians.
There’s a reason the speed limit drops in front of a school. No matter what age the students are, schools can be a place where car accidents happen. Kids are unpredictable and might run into traffic, but there’s danger from distracted drivers around schools too.
At an elementary school: parents, running late, rushing to drop off their little ones. Or the distracted parent at pick up when the kids are chattering about their day.
High schools can be even more dangerous. Newly licensed, inexperienced drivers trying to impress their friends can unfortunately result in car accidents.
Churches on Sunday
Multiple large churches on both sides of the road make Green Mount Road through Shiloh super busy on Sundays. When church services let out, it’s the perfect situation for accidents. Everyone leaves at approximately the same time through only a few exits. And waiting in line can make people impatient to get to their Sunday dinner.
Drivers might be tempted to make risky moves, like pulling out into cross traffic in front of someone or blocking an intersection as they wait their turn. An unsuspecting driver could come upon the after-church gridlock and get in a wreck.
Illinois roads seem to always be under construction. How often are parts of Route 15 down to one lane? Speeding or using a cell phone in construction zones is illegal in Illinois and comes with hefty fines. Worse, negligent driving through a construction zone can cause a serious accident with grave personal injury to the construction workers or other drivers.
Many construction site accidents happen when a driver does not reduce his or her speed and can’t stop when they come upon slowed or stopped cars. Always pay attention to signs posted about the zones ahead.
When some people get away from the heavier traffic of more populated areas, they can get a false sense of freedom. They may drive faster or be more likely to take a look at their cell phone. Unfortunately, distracted driving and carelessness can cause just as many serious accidents in rural areas as within a city.
Curves, hills, and hidden drives are hazards. There may sometimes be slow-moving farm equipment or wildlife, too. Even a straight, flat, stretch of two-lane country road can be dangerous if someone speeds, tries to pass a slower car, or doesn’t slow down for someone turning off the road.
Highway On/Off Ramps
Wherever ramps are used to get on or off a highway, there’s a chance for an accident. The higher the speed, the more chance of a crash. Merging into traffic an on-ramp requires accelerating quickly to get up to match the speed of the other cars. When it takes a long time for a driver to do that, or if the other cars won’t yield, there’s a risk of a serious accident.
Exiting a highway has its problems too. After driving at highway speeds, a driver might not realize how fast they’re going as they move onto a surface street where cars are going much slower. Transitioning onto or off of a highway ramp can be tricky. It’s best to stay alert and be sure to use signal intent with turn signals.
Current Conditions’ Impact on Driving
The COVID-19 pandemic halted a lot of travel in 2020. People stayed home instead of commuting to work, school, or just about anywhere. Not surprisingly, this did reduce the number of auto accidents. An unexpected consequence, however, is that the few accidents that did happen tended to be more serious.
A CNN report found that there was a significant surge of high-speed crashes. The lack of cars on the road was leading some reckless drivers to increase their speed by as much as 75%. It was not unusual for police to clock drivers going over 100 mph, even in urban settings. In New York City, one day in March saw nearly double the number of speeding tickets as one day the previous month. And in Iowa, the State Patrol handed out tickets to 170 drivers driving over 100 mph last month.
These pandemic-related driving habits are happening across the country in both the city and the country. They’re happening in Belleville, too. Your chances of being the victim of a car crash might be higher now than ever.
Advice From a Car Accident Lawyer in Belleville
If you are hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to compensation for your car’s damage and your injuries. After a bad crash, you may have a long road to recovery and may not be able to work. You can also have injuries that don’t show up right away. To make sure you get a fair settlement, contact an auto accident lawyer in Belleville like Hipskind & McAninch. They will stand with you and guide you through the entire process.
As you drive around town in Belleville—be careful! There are risks for everyone on the road and not everyone is as careful as you are. Drive defensively whenever you get behind the wheel and be aware of the danger zones where most car accidents happen.