Category Archives: Traffic Safety

IDOT Debuts Winter Weather Driving Tips Video

The Illinois Department of Transportation just released a video, just ahead of winter, to remind drivers on how best to deal with challenging seasonal road conditions.

Good tips and perhaps a reminder to all those motorists who completely forgot how to drive on snow and ice over the past few months.

260 Trucks & Snow Plows Battle Early Season Snowstorm

A city snow plow travels down Milwaukee Avenue Monday afternoon.

A city snow plow travels down Milwaukee Avenue .

260 city trucks hit the streets to begin tackling the season’s first snowstorm late Friday night.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation says 70 trucks were deployed at 9 PM, and another 190 began snow removal and salting on the city’s major thoroughfares at 10 PM.

An early season snowstorm threatened the area with between two to 10 inches of snow between Friday and Saturday night according to weather forecasts.

Street Justice? Judge Fines Biker Who Banged On Cop’s Car

Cyclist James Liu sits on the street handcuffed after he slapped a police officer's personal vehicle back in October. Photo credit: Ben Raines.

Cyclist James Liu sits on the street handcuffed after he slapped a police officer’s personal vehicle back in October. Photo credit: Ben Raines.

Bam! Bam!

Bicyclist James Liu says he’s was just trying to make sure the driver of an SUV knew he was partially blocking a bike lane when he twice hit the vehicle with his fist back in October.

A few moments later Liu was handcuffed and sitting on the pavement waiting to be arrested.

You see, the car he hit with his fist was being driven by an off-duty police officer on his way to work.

Liu was in court Thursday to fight his disorderly conduct citation. Unfortunately for Liu, the judge upheld the charge and fined him $290 according to DNA Info.

Liu contended he did hit the car because it was drifting in and out of the bike lane.

Halloween Safety Tips For Drivers, Trick Or Treaters

Halloween--Deadliest Day GraphicHalloween may be the most dangerous night of the year for kids.

And not because of all the stomach aches that occur from consuming an overabundance of candy.

No, there are multiple studies that indicate more children are hit by vehicles on October 31st than any other 24 hour period of the year.

So, here are a few tips when you’re out driving on Halloween to make sure everyone gets home safe and sound Wednesday evening.

1-Slow Down

This is the one day or night out of the year that you should drive well below the speed limit–especially in residential neighborhoods where the majority of trick or treating is done.

Look out for kids darting across the street from between parked cars.

2-Be Careful Passing Stopped Vehicles

Before you assume some bonehead is pulled over just to aggravate you, remember, it may be a parent dropping off a bunch of costumed kids. Be extra careful that one doesn’t run in front of your vehicle while passing.

3-Use Your Hazard Lights

If you’re the mom or dad dropping off the kids somewhere, when you pull over to let them out, throw on your hazard lights so other drivers see you pulled over and will hopefully slow down and drive more carefully.

4-Be Extra Vigilant When You See Kids

Look, kids do stupid things. They can’t help it. They don’t look both ways, they dart into the street without looking, they’re easily distracted and tonight, they’re all tweaked from excitement and from all the sugar they’ve ingested. Plus, if the kid has a mask on, they’re vision is impaired as well.

Law Enforcement Cracking Down On Impaired Drivers Labor Day Weekend

Uh-OhDrive sober and wear your seat belt–or get pulled over.

That’s the message The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police is trying to communicate to drivers this Labor Day Holiday.

This weekend marks the end of a two-week crackdown on impaired driving.

IDOT and State Police say state patrols and local police and sheriffs departments will be out in force through early Tuesday morning looking for impaired motorists and drivers and passengers not wearing safety belts.

Seatbelt Usage Reaches 95% On Illinois Roads

SeatbeltThe Illinois Department of Transportation announced this week that safety belt usage for drivers and front seat passengers has reached an all-time high of 95.2% on Illinois roads.

IDOT says it’s a 1.1% increase over last year when Illinois’ 94.1% gave the state the 7th highest seatbelt usage rate in the U.S. according to the National Highway Safety Administration. This year’s numbers should improve Illinois ranking.

“More and more Illinois drivers are getting the message that something as simple as buckling up every time you get into a vehicle saves lives,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Blankenhorn. “This is great news and an encouraging trend, but we still have more work to do. To get the usage rate even higher and save even more lives on Illinois roadways, we will look to strengthen our partnerships with law enforcement on safety campaigns and continue searching for creative new ways to get out the message on the importance of using your seat belt.”

Traffic Safety Activists Say Tollway Suppressing Speed Limits

70 MPH signThursday the Illinois Tollway announced speed limit increases for a handful of segments on its system including the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355).

But traffic safety proponents are saying the proposed speed limit increases are being set at unsafely low levels.

According to the Tollway, increases will affect just 62% of Tollway system based on recommendations from Tollway traffic engineers and traffic studies commissioned by the agency.

The increases come in the wake of state legislation, and subsequent clarifying legislation that increased speed limits on all Illinois expressways to 70 mph on January 1st.

Road Rage Incident Ruins Pleasant Saturday Morning


It started with a honking horn.

Stopped at the stop sign on a one-way street at Irving Park Road Saturday morning, the impatient female driver behind me was in a hurry to get somewhere.

Unfortunately, Saturday morning traffic was brisk in both directions, so she was going to have to wait until there was a break in traffic before I was going to try to cross the busy four lane street. Perhaps she felt I should be a jerk and pull onto the street and block a lane or two of oncoming traffic while waiting for the other side of the street to be clear enough to cross. But that wasn’t going to happen.

Finally, after a few minutes there was a break in the traffic and I began pulling across Irving.

But my impatient friend behind me also saw the opening and instead of waiting for me, the driver with the right of way, to go first, she lurched into the left lane and accelerated along side me. And then instead of turning left or going straight, the driver turned right in front of our vehicle, cutting us off in her hurry to get around my car.

Unfortunately, our vehicles lightly scraped.

Damn. My son and I were going to be late to his music class.

Wrong Way Crashes Claim 50 Lives In Illinois Since 2005

50 killed and 300 injured in 198 crashes.

That’s the numbers for wrong-way crashes in Illinois between 2005-2012 according to a report by NBC 5.

Not surprisingly, most of these wrong-way crashes involve intoxicated motorists driving home during early morning hours. The vast majority of these crashes occur on expressways within the Chicago metro area.

IDOT: Crashes Tick Up 4% 2013, Highest Since 2008

CrashThe Chicago Tribune breaks down Illinois crash statistics for 2013 in a recent story and finds that vehicle crashes and fatalities were both up last year.

There were 991 crash related fatalities last year, 37 more than in 2012 or a 4% increase statewide.

Traffic experts are theorizing crashes are up because people are driving more. There’s also concern the low price of gas may increase average miles driven and thus increase crashes and traffic deaths in 2015.

There are some interesting takeaways the Tribune points out from the statistics.

Here’s the breakdown: