Intersections bring multiple roads with multiple vehicles from multiple directions together. Even when clearly marked, intersections are frequent sites of crashes and collisions. And, anyone can be injured in an intersection accident – driver, passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist. Worse? Most intersection crashes are preventable and are usually the fault of a careless driver.
Why are intersections so dangerous?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 40 percent of all motor vehicle crashes occur at intersections. This means nearly half of car accidents in the United States occur in intersections. The report also noted that 96 percent of intersection collisions are caused by driver error.
Why are intersections so much more dangerous than other parts of the road or highway? A variety of reasons, including:
- Drivers trying to beat a yellow light (speeding up at an intersection)
- Too many points of entry, heightening the risk for collisions
- Drivers making illegal or dangerous turns
- Pedestrians on phones or otherwise distracted
All of these factors can lead to tragic crashes and collisions.
What are the leading causes of intersection accidents?
According to the NHTSA report, the most common driver actions leading to intersection crashes include:
- Disregarded traffic signal
- False assumption of other driver’s action
- Illegal maneuver
- Inadequate surveillance (inattention)
- Internal distraction (distracted driving)
- Misjudgment of gap or other car’s speed
- Turning with obstructed view
As you might guess, the majority of collisions at intersections are side-impact collisions. These are also called t-bone crashes or right-angle collisions. Side-impact crashes often cause serious injuries, as the side of a vehicle typically offers less protection than the front cabin of the car.
How can I avoid an intersection accident?
Although you cannot control the actions of careless drivers, you can take some steps to drive defensively when approaching intersections:
- Be aware of your surroundings. As a driver you should always be aware of what is going on around you, but at an intersection it is especially important.
- Do not speed up. You cannot anticipate another driver’s actions, and they cannot anticipate yours. Don’t try to “beat the light” – if another vehicle makes an unexpected lane change or stop, a collision may occur.
- Enter carefully. The riskiest time to enter an intersection is when the light turns yellow, and right after it turns green. We already know that some drivers try to beat the light, so it is important to be aware. Also, when the light turns green, check for red-light runners before pulling out. The same goes for four-way stop signs.
- Maintain a safe distance. Don’t follow vehicles too closely, especially in dangerous areas like intersections. Leaving a gap gives you a safe place to get out in the event of an accident in front of you, as well as a buffer space if the vehicle ahead of you suddenly stops.
- Use your turn signal. This is the only way other drivers can anticipate your actions on the road. If you are planning to turn at an intersection, ensure you use your signals so other drivers are aware.
If you were injured in an intersection accident, it is important to have experienced legal representation. Talk to the personal injury attorneys at Martin & Helms today. To schedule a consultation in our Huntsville or Decatur office call 256-539-1990 or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis so there is no cost to you unless we win your case. We also serve injured clients in Decatur, Athens and Madison, and throughout the Tennessee Valley region and North Alabama.
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Choosing the right personal injury attorney is an important step in building a better future. You deserve a lawyer who works one-on-one with you, and who can develop a plan for you to move forward. When you choose Martin & Helms, you get Clay Martin and Tara Helms: experienced, compassionate counselors who put your best interests first. We invite you to read more about us.