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Chicago Traffic and COVID-19: Fewer Cars on the Road but More Severe Injuries

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Fewer Crashes Increase in Severity BlogRead about how COVID-19 guidelines have affected Chicago traffic and our daily lives.
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COVID-19 and Daily Life in Illinois

In Illinois, COVID-19 has affected all of our lives in ways that no one could have imagined. We cannot come and go as we please. If we do leave the house, we have to remember more than just our wallets and keys and now follow a completely different set of guidelines than we did before the pandemic. First responders and essential workers put themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19 at work every day.

The Illinois Department of Public Health travel guide recommends everyone practice the 3 W’s whenever we leave home.

  1. Wear a face covering.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. Watch your social distancing and stay 6 feet away from other people.

And, we even had to stay in place for more than a month. One interesting thing to note is that there have been fewer motor vehicle accidents in Chicago as a result of the changes to the daily routines we’ve had to make because of COVID-19.

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Chicago Car Crash Data During the Pandemic

The Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC) is tracking crash data in Chicago during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its latest analysis has found that while there have been fewer crashes overall, there is a slight increase in the severity of the crashes.

During the first week of March, Chicago had 2,063 reported crashes. That number dropped after March 13, when COVID-19 was declared a national emergency and dropped further after the Illinois’ Stay At Home order began on March 21st.  During the week of April 1st, Chicago was down to 803 car crashes.

Despite the decrease in overall crashes, the NUTC found an uptick in the severity of injuries in those crashes, including those involving pedestrians. They believe it is likely due to the fact that drivers are going faster on less congested roads.

Fewer Crashes Increase in Severity Infographic

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Less Traffic But More Severe Car Accidents Across the United States

And it’s not just happening in Chicago, in fact, the trend of fewer vehicles on the road contributing to more severe accidents has been noticed across the country. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Minnesota and Louisiana recorded more traffic fatalities during the Coronavirus crisis than in the same periods of past years, even though there were far fewer drivers on the road because of the stay-at-home orders. In states including Missouri, fatality rates increased even as total crash deaths declined.”

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Stay Alert and Get Help

Some sources attribute the increased injuries and fatalities to drivers being more reckless. With less traffic congestion and fewer cars on the road, drivers are able to drive faster than they would have under pre-COVID traffic conditions.

Knowing these facts and statistics, it is important to be more aware and conscious as a driver or pedestrian. Since others are being more reckless, the likelihood that you or someone you know could be harmed is increased. Should you become injured in a motor vehicle accident or as a pedestrian, feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 312-223-1700.

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