Intersections are one of the most dangerous places on the road. Drivers should take extra precautions at intersections and should be aware of risks.
Many intersection accidents are side-impact or T-bone crashes, where one vehicle directly connects with the side of another and the two cars form a T. Prevention of these car accidents is especially important because T-bone crashes have disproportionately high rates of serious injury, traumatic brain injury, and fatalities.
Tips for How to Stay Safe at Intersections
RSI Insurance Brokers have many tips for motorists aimed at preventing accidents at intersections. Suggests for safety include:
- Defensive driving. Many motorists mistakenly assume another driver will stop when approaching an intersection. Always assume the other motorists will not obey traffic control signals or right-of-way laws and plan accordingly. Trusting other drivers can only lead to crashes
- Allow plenty of time to clear intersections. Before you enter into an intersection, be sure you have ample time to get across the entire intersection before another car comes.
- Avoid counting on cross traffic to slow down. Other drivers could be inattentive or impaired and may not see if you are still in the intersection when a light changes.
- Know the risks. Intersections are especially dangerous when they are uncontrolled by traffic signals, or at dawn or dusk when visibility may be impeded.
- Watch for cars when a red light turns green. Many drivers just stare at the red light and go as soon as it turns green, but this can be a problem if other cars are still in the intersection.
- Approach blind intersections carefully. Creep out slowly when your view is obstructed and do not make a turn into an intersection until you are certain your path is clear.
Following these safety tips is very important because accidents at intersections are especially common. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates around 40 percent of all accidents occur at intersections. Drivers are almost always at fault, as 96 percent of intersection accidents are designated as being caused by critical error on the part of drivers. Fewer than three percent of all collisions at intersections are caused by environmental factors.
Specific driving behaviors account for a disproportionate number of intersections accidents. The most common reason for these crash types is inadequate surveillance, which accounts for 44.1 percent of intersection accidents. By contrast, for all other types of accidents not at intersections, speeding and driving aggressively are most common causes of accidents and account for 22.8 percent of collisions.
Other common reasons for intersection accidents include making inaccurate assumptions about the behaviors of other drivers; turning when the view is not clear; making illegal maneuvers, becoming distracted by something in the vehicle; and misjudging the gaps between cars and assuming you have sufficient time to clear the intersection when you do not.