Traffic accidents increased just over four percent in Evanston last month to 169 crashes, compared to 162 in May a year ago.

Evanston police accident reports show that failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash was the top contributing factor in accidents in both months and failing to yield the right-of-way was the next most frequent cause.

Drivers did a lot better in avoiding “improper backing” this year — with only seven incidents of that, compared to 16 in the same month last year.

Other common accident causes in both periods included improper passing, improper lane usage and following too closely.

The chart above shows the number of accidents attributed to each of the 11 causes which were cited at least three times in one of the two months.

In about a fifth of the accidents no contributing factor was assigned by the investigating officer. Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew says that frequently happens when motorists drive to the police station to report an accident and officers haven’t been able to examine the accident scene.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Slow down.

    To paraphrase Einstein, the faster you go the rounder you get.

    Evanston should have a citywide speed limit of a maxmum of 25MPH.

    1. 25 mph

      25 is the citywide max unless ohterwise posted.  Almost everywhere it is 25 or less. A few of exceptions are Golf Rd, McCormick, and Sheridan next to the cemetery.  

      1. More exceptions that are over 25MPH

        Add to the list of streets in Evanston that have a greater than 25MPH speed limit at most locations are the following: Asbury, Central, Church, Crawford, Green Bay and Main. This list may be incomplete.

  2. Failing to reduce speed

    “Failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash”, does that mean speeding, or that the driver didn’t hit the brakes right before the crash?

    Also, can a crash be attributed to multiple factors?

    1. Failing…

      1. No, not necessarily speeding.

      2. Yes. This tally just included what was considered the most important contributing factor.

      — Bill

      1. So it means that you were

        So it means that you were going too fast for the conditions on the road? 

        1. Or …

          You were inattentive and didn’t notice when the guy in front of you slammed on his brakes, even though there was enough space for you to have stopped had you been alert.

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