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Illinois DOT releases intersections most prone to car accidents

Chicago has long been a bustling city, and residents know how busy and hectic the area's roads can be, particularly at certain locations. The Illinois Department of Transportation has released its data on car accidents in 2010, revealing which intersections in six counties around Chicago are most prone to crashes.

While the intersections are spread out relatively evenly, the one that tops the list is located in the city at South Chicago Avenue and Stony Island Avenue. That intersection carries a heavy load of motor traffic--up to 70,000 vehicles daily--in addition to many bicyclists and people walking on foot. Sixty-three car accidents took place there in 2010, with 28 people reporting injuries.

Like South Chicago and Stony Island, other dangerous intersections are plagued by a large number of vehicles passing through them. Improvements aimed at reducing accidents can include adding more traffic signals and making the lights longer, but such changes have to be weighed against concerns over any additional congestion they might cause.

In addition, cameras have been placed at some intersections to catch drivers who attempt to sneak through after the light has turned red. The Department of Transportation study showed an 8 percent across the board drop in crashes at intersections that have the cameras.

In other dangerous locations, a physical redesign of the intersection can help improve safety while easing traffic flow. The Department of Transportation is planning one such revision to a highway interchange, one of a number of expressway ramps that made the top 20 list. But such large-scale projects cost millions of dollars and are often slow to be realized.

Drivers can also take steps to make crowded intersections safer. Avoiding distractions in the car and eschewing cell phone use can help keep a driver's attention focused on navigating some of the city's trickiest intersections.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "The Chicago area's 20 most dangerous intersections," Tina Sfondeles, April 30, 2012.

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