Chicago is a popular American tourist city. 30.7 million domestic and international visitors traveled to Chicago in 2021, but the city averaged nearly 60 million travelers pre-COVID. Once you add in the nearly 3 million residents, it isn’t hard to see why car accidents often occur here.

In the state of Illinois, approximately 1,100 fatal accidents occur yearly. Cook County, where Chicago is located, was the most dangerous county and is responsible for over 300 fatalities, or 30% of all Illinois car accident fatalities. The majority of these accidents involve semi-trucks.

If you were to take a snapshot of Chicago, you’ll find that 15 intersections pose the greatest risk of injury and death.

Let’s look at why that is and how to navigate these intersections safely.

Chicago's Most Dangerous Intersections

© Can Stock Photo / rudi1976

How to Get Compensated After an Accident

Illinois is an at-fault state, so if the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance, you can sue the driver for damages. Drivers may also sue if the other driver’s insurance doesn’t adequately cover their medical bills or repair costs. But you’ll need ample evidence to back up your claims in court.

To do this, you’ll need to request a police report, take pictures and videos of the accident, collect medical and car maintenance records, and speak to witnesses. Be sure to find a local Chicago lawyer, like Dave Abels, who can offer a free case evaluation after a car or motorcycle accident.

If you’re traveling in the United States, make sure you purchase out-of-state car insurance, if applicable. Most insurers will include travel insurance with comprehensive car insurance.

The 15 Most Dangerous Chicago Intersections Ranked

In 2021, the Chicago Journal looked at accident stats to find the most dangerous intersections in the city. The following chart is borrowed from their op-ed and crash study on the subject.

IntersectionCrashesSerious InjuriesTotal InjuriesCRI*
E 79th St & S Stony Island Ave196952293
E 95th St & S Stony Island Ave160444229
W Garfield Blvd & S Wentworth Ave141655220
W Garfield Blvd & S Wells St131442189
N Michigan Ave & E Wacker Dr125326163
W Cermak Rd & S Clark St129311161
N Columbus Dr & E Wacker Dr102434161
W 47th St & S Western Blvd123225156
N Halsted St & W Hubbard St121125150
W Ontario St & N Orleans St132112148
W Pershing Rd & S Western Ave113225146
W 99th St & S Halsted St110420146
E Chicago Ave & N Lake Shore Dr104425145
W 87th St & S Lafayette Ave106324142
W Congress Pkwy & W Ogden Ave98424138

Credit: Chicago Journal

* CRI is short for “collision risk index,” which weights collision volume with injury severity

E 79th St & S Stony Island Ave, E 95th St & S Stony Island Ave, and W Garfield Blvd & S Wentworth Ave were the most dangerous intersections in 2021. Little has changed in 2022. However, accidents have gone down globally since 2020-2021, making the roads much safer.

How to Navigate the Most Common Chicago Car Crash Causes

While it’s true that car crashes happen more often on busy roads, accidents can only happen if some form of negligence is involved. Here’s how to navigate dangerous intersections safely.

1. Learn to Obey Right-of-Way Rules

Failing to yield to another driver’s right-of-way is the most common reason for accidents in Chicago. Drivers get in right-of-way crashes because they don’t know the rules of the road and panic, or they act selfishly. Knowing whose turn it is at a stop sign can literally save your life.

To become a safer driver, you should review right-of-way scenarios and put them into practice on the road. If you’re not sure if it’s your time to drive, err on the side of caution and yield.

2. Don’t Follow Vehicles Too Closely

Drivers may tailgate (or follow too closely) another vehicle because they’re in stop-and-go traffic or angry. However, it isn’t smart to ride a car’s bumper. Not only does it affect your visibility and reaction time, but it also causes stress and tension for the driver ahead of you.

Safety experts recommend a minimum of two seconds between vehicles, as it gives you enough time to stop. However, three to five seconds is ideal if the roads are slippery or visibility is low.

3. Know When to Reduce Your Speed

Your reaction time can make the difference between an average morning and a fatal accident, but many drivers are like a deer in headlights when a car is coming toward them. While this fight or flight response is normal, it’s vital to learn when to reduce your speed to avoid a crash.

If your reaction time is dulled for other reasons, consider minimizing left turns, planning your route, and staying clear of busy highways. Avoid distractions and driving without adequate rest.

4. Become a More Experienced Driver

Experience comes with time and practice, but if you aren’t driving often, you’re going to see your skills diminish. If you plan to drive daily (as most of us do), then get out on the road as often as possible. Nervous drivers should take defensive driving courses to improve their confidence.

Fortunately, anyone can improve their driving habits right away if they work on them. One bad habit to avoid is forgetting to signal, which you should do on every turn and lane change.

5. Understand Proper Braking Technique

Proper braking technique is essential for truck drivers because it takes longer for them to stop. With that said, all drivers should pay attention to the road and avoid speeding to make sure they can brake successfully, as braking too late or too hard can cause a fatal rollover accident.

When it’s snowing or raining, drivers should pump the brakes to prevent hydroplaning. Be sure to check your brake pads every six months and replace them every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

5/5 - (1 vote)