It is a common experience for drivers heading home, especially late at night, only to veer slightly out of the lane and be jolted awake by the rumble strips guarding the center of the road. These concrete ridges, originally invented in Illinois in the 1950s, serve a valuable purpose in preventing crossover accidents. Crossover accidents are some of the most dangerous types of traffic accidents and they occur when drivers, either careless or distracted, swerve out of their lane and into oncoming traffic, resulting in a powerful, head-on collision with another car.
What Crossover Accidents Are
Crossover accidents occur when a car leaves its lane, crossing over the median and into traffic heading the other direction, resulting in a front-end collision. The physics behind these sorts of crashes makes them some of the deadliest types of accidents. The issue is one of speed. In a single car crash or even a crash into the side of another car, most of the accident's force comes from the one car's forward motion. This is not true in crossover accidents because the two cars are heading in opposite directions, so their forces both contribute to the accident. By way of example, two cars colliding in a crossover accident, each traveling 60 miles per hour, would have the same force as a single car crashing into a wall at 120 miles per hour. These sorts of violent collisions can lead to all sorts of severe injuries including whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and in many cases, even death.
How Rumble Strips Help
Rumble strips can be instrumental in preventing these sorts of accidents. They function as an early warning system, alerting drivers to the fact that they are leaving their lane and are about to veer dangerously into oncoming traffic. In fact, a study from the Kansas Department of Transportation and the University of Kansas reports that these sorts of safety device can reduce crossover accidents by as much as 21 percent.
There may be some circumstances in which the absence of these sorts of rumble strips can give rise to a claim against the municipality for failing to properly design or maintain the road. Although such claims are difficult to bring, there are scenarios in which a poorly designed road, such as one lacking in centerline rumble strips, could lead to a traffic accident for which the victims would have a right to recover.
If you or one of your loved ones has recently been injured in a crossover accident or some other type of crash, contact an experienced Illinois traffic accident attorney today. Our firm's team of dedicated professionals protects the rights of clients in towns across the northwest suburbs, including in Deer Park, Arlington Heights, and Crystal Lake.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.