You’ve probably heard this traffic rule before: when driving on a road which has two lanes in each direction, it is usually best to stay in the right-hand lane unless you are trying to pass. This is especially true if the road does not have a center lane from which traffic in either direction can turn left. In this case, staying in the right lane helps you avoid vehicles which may have to stop in front of you to make a left turn.
This point was illustrated in a rear-end collision in Vermilion County last week. On Friday evening at 6pm, a vehicle carrying four occupants was driving south on Illinois Route 1 about a mile south of Westville, which is five miles south of Interstate 74. The vehicle stopped in the left southbound travel lane and waited to turn left onto Clingan Lane. Behind that vehicle, an 18-year old woman driving another vehicle reportedly turned to look at a child in the back seat. The distraction was enough to cause the woman’s vehicle to slam into the back of the left-turning vehicle. The 40-year old male driver of the rear-ended vehicle, as well as a 38-year old woman, 18-year old woman, and 17-year old man who were passengers in that vehicle, all had to be taken to a Danville hospital because of injuries.
The 18-year old woman who was distracted was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an auto accident. Had she been driving in the right lane instead of the left, the auto accident likely would have been avoided.
If they wish, the occupants of the rear-ended vehicle may file personal injury lawsuits against the 18-year old woman in the other vehicle. The defendant may be ordered to reimburse the plaintiffs for ambulance charges and medical expenses, and perhaps compensate them for any lost wages due to missed time at work.