Assessing Blame for an Accident While Merging in Chicago, Illinois

Illinois driving laws, in summary, requires the driver on the lesser road to yield to the vehicles on the main thoroughfare. Take merging onto a highway from an on-ramp, for example. In that specific instance, the vehicle merging into traffic from the on-ramp must yield to the vehicles already on the Interstate. Most merges from on-ramp to highway have Yield signs posted. Additionally, when merging onto a road, the merging driver must pay rapt attention to the flow of traffic and the vehicles in front. Oftentimes, a driver will forget about the car in front because he or she is only watching the flow of traffic instead of watching both and will crash into the rear-end of the car in front.

The driver on the main thoroughfare has no duty to move out of the way for a merging vehicle. Doing so is the safe and courteous action to take, but Illinois law does not require it. However, the motorist who observes a vehicle merging onto the main road from a lesser road has a responsibility to avoid a crash if possible. The driver on the larger road cannot argue persuasively that he or she has no obligation whatsoever to prevent a collision if the person merging failed to yield. The driver with the presumptive right of way can see the traffic ahead and might have a chance to avoid a collision with a merging vehicle because his or her vision is not impeded. Conversely, the merging car has an awkward line-of-sight. The driver can look over a shoulder while yielding but will need to rely on the side view and rear view mirrors to monitor oncoming cars. 

As can be seen, you should not automatically assume you will win your Chicago accident case because you were hit by a merging driver. Insurance defense lawyers aggressively defend their clients and will work hard to show that you could have avoided the accident involving a merging driver. 


Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Auto Accident Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at 312.422.0500.

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