Throughout the Chicagoland area, poor road design has led to hundreds of fatalities every year. A lack of state funding for roadways has largely contributed to inadequate designs and unsafe road conditions. Many roads go without the repairs and maintenance needed in Chicago and neighboring suburbs. As a result of the poor design and the subsequent issues, traffic officials have requested improvements to make the roads safer.
Multiple Factors Contributing to Traffic Fatalities in Chicago
Every year, over 400 fatalities result from poor roadway design, deteriorating road conditions, and inadequate traffic control.
In addition to the above factors, other risk factors that influence traffic crashes include:
- The types of vehicles on the road
- The amount of traffic
- The type of travel (e.g. personal vehicles or public transportation)
- General road conditions
- The driver’s skill and behavior
Other conditions that can affect roadway safety include inclement weather, unsafe vehicles, distracted driving, or drunk or otherwise impaired driving.
Despite these factors that can contribute to traffic accidents, insufficient state funding has led to many poorly designed roadways throughout the Chicago area. Due to the consequences of these poor designs, many officials are calling for additional improvements to reduce the risk of accidents.
Safety Measures to Improve Road Conditions in Chicago
While the Federal Highway Administration has recommendations in place for proper road safety, a lack of funding has lead to inferior safety measures that put people at risk. In addition, roads are not maintained as well under poor funding. However, taking preventative steps will help to improve traffic safety through better designs. Taking the many factors into consideration, there are key traffic safety devices and designs that could help improve road conditions and prevent accidents.
Roundabouts can maintain a consistent flow of traffic without requiring stoplights or stop signs that normally appear at intersections. As a result, roundabouts can significantly reduce accidents by up to 87%.
To keep motorists alert while driving and ensure they remain within their lanes, rumble strips produce a sound when tires make contact with them. Rumble strips are placed at the centerline of roadways and can let drivers know when they are crossing it. This helps to prevent traffic collisions from drivers crossing lanes.
In addition to rumble strips, another safety measure that can help in reducing truck accidents and other types of traffic accidents is a safety edge. Safety edges are installed on the outer edges of roadways and can help prevent drivers from losing control of their vehicles and veering off the road.
Without safety edges, accidents run the risk of turning into rollover incidents that lead to even more serious injuries and deaths.
With the help of these new designs and other safety measures, traffic officials assert that roadways across Chicago will be increasingly safer for motorists. However, much of the ability to improve road conditions depends on the ability to secure funding, which has remained a core issue. With better road designs, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians can all benefit from improved conditions that keep them consistently safer when traveling.