You’ve probably seen it happen, and likely have done it yourself: using hand signals to indicate to another driver when it is okay to proceed. This happens at four-way stop signs, inside parking lots, and in traffic jams every day in Illinois. Generally, telling another driver to go by waving to him or her is representative of a thoughtful, collaborative society. But there are times when this practice can backfire – and someone gets hurt as a result.
One such case occurred in Grundy County last week. On Wednesday in Morris, a 48-year old Marseilles woman who was driving 2008 Ford Explorer was trying to turn left out of the McDonalds parking lot on North Division Street at George Street (near Joliet Junior College). As she was waiting to turn onto northbound Division, a car stopped in the right southbound lane just north of the exit, and the driver motioned to her that it was okay to pull out in front of him to begin her turn. But at the location, there are two lanes which travel south – and another sport utility vehicle which the woman was unable to see was in the left travel lane. So when the woman pulled out onto Division, the 1996 Ford Ranger was unable to stop in time and slammed into the Explorer. Two teenaged passengers in the Ranger had to be taken to an area hospital with injuries.
The Marseilles woman was cited by police for failing to yield, which means that she will likely be held accountable for the Illinois auto accident. So if the two teens who were injured wish to do so, they (or their parents, if they are minors) may file personal injury lawsuits against the driver of the Explorer. While it’s possible that the driver who “waved her out” could share part of the blame, it would be difficult to prove in court that the driver’s actions directly led to the auto accident.