The greater Chicagoland area often experiences very heavy winter weather. As storms roll across the Midwest, Chicago often sees a deluge of snow. Ice and sleet can also make roads nearly impassable. Winter weather conditions reduce the overall speed of traffic and increase the chances of a collision. Drivers who must travel during or immediately after winter weather generally need to adjust their behaviors for optimal safety.
Appropriate adjustments include leaving earlier to travel at slower speeds and maintaining more distance between their vehicle and other vehicles in traffic. Drivers in Chicago may also want to avoid certain roads that tend to see a disproportionate number of crashes each year.
What roads are risky during times of winter weather?
Any street can become hazardous when there is black ice or drivers who don’t change their practices to reflect weather conditions. However, some streets consistently see more crashes than others.
Within the City itself, there are three intersections that have the highest degree of risk. Where West Garfield Boulevard intersects with South Wentworth Avenue is a multi-lane intersection that sees many severe crashes, including pedestrian collisions. East 95th Street where it intersects with South Stony Island Avenue is another high-risk area. A lack of sidewalks and wider lanes create pedestrian risks and promote unsafe driving issues, including speeding.
Finally, the intersection of East 79th Street and South Stony Island Avenue is the most dangerous location in Chicago according to some researchers. This location is a six-way intersection with access points to the Chicago Skyway. The presence of multiple bus routes and the absence of bicycle lanes only exacerbate the risk.
The highways around the city can also become very dangerous during times of inclement weather due to the presence of many commercial vehicles and the high speed limit. Interstate 355 and the Tri-State Tollway sometimes see closures due to crashes during times of inclement weather.
Motorists often have to make a difficult decision between traveling on a road with a high level of reported collisions or bypassing that road to travel on surface streets that may not have had proper snow removal yet. Regardless, preparing oneself for the unique traffic safety hazards of the Chicago area winter may help improve someone’s chances of arriving safely regardless of how blustery it becomes outside.