Since we were young children, we have all been taught that “green means go.” But when we get older, it’s easy to forget that this axiom is not absolute. For example, if the light turns green while there is a pedestrian in a crosswalk in front of you, you’re not allowed to accelerate through the person into the intersection.
There are other instances where caution must be taken when a motorist has a green light. One such situation was illustrated in Peru last month at the intersection of Route 251 and Interstate 80. Last Friday morning just before 11:30am, a 76-year old Spring Valley man was driving his car north on Route 251 and wanted to turn left onto the ramp to I-80. He had a green light, so he started to make his turn.
However, a van driven by a 44-year old LaMoille man was traveling southbound toward the car at the same time – and he had a green light as well. The van struck the car on the passenger side, and the collision injured both men as well as four other people in the van.
In this case, the elderly driver should have yielded to the car coming towards him even though he had a green light. That’s because Illinois drivers are required to yield to oncoming traffic before making a left turn (unless the motorist has a protected green arrow, which was not the case in this scenario). As a result, the Spring Valley man was cited by Illinois State Police for failure to yield the right of way.
Since the 76-year old man was at fault in this collision, the other five injured victims have strong grounds to file personal injury lawsuits against him. All of them had to be transported to area hospitals, which means that they have incurred medical costs as a result of the accident. If any of them are forced to miss work because of their injuries (or the physical therapy which might be required in the future), the elderly man may have to reimburse them for the wages that would have otherwise earned. That’s learning the hard (and expensive) way that “green means go” is not absolute.