Intersections a Common Location for Accidents
Intersections are inherently dangerous sections of the road. While you may feel as though the chaos of crossing traffic is controlled by signal lights or stop signs, there exists a much greater potential for a collision than on most other sections of the roadway.
Disproportionate number of crashes happen in intersectionsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study looking at the rate of accidents in intersections and the reasons for those accidents most often cited by law enforcement or other emergency personnel in subsequent reports on the accidents. According to its report, intersections are the site of nearly 40% of all accidents on US roads annually. Since intersections occupy a relatively small percentage of the roadway, this makes intersections vastly more dangerous than the average span of road.
The NHTSA's report also described the most common reasons for intersection accidents that were the result of human error (considered to be 96% of all accidents). 44% of all such accidents were found to be the result of what is known officially as "insufficient surveillance." In other words, the crash occurred when the at-fault driver failed to spend enough time scanning the intersection for oncoming cars, bikes, or pedestrians before themselves taking an action.
Another common cause of intersection crashes was found to be making a turn with an obstructed view. About 22% of all intersection accidents are the result of a driver making a left turn. Many left-turn accidents can be attributed to both the driver turning left and the oncoming car. While a driver should not turn left without feeling confident that they can see oncoming traffic, many drivers traveling straight through an intersection will accelerate to a dangerous speed to make it through a yellow light, which can make a collision unavoidable.
Avoid intersection accidents by following some simple rulesThere are steps you as a driver can take to reduce your chances of being involved in an intersection accident:
Don't assume you know what another driver will do, or assume that they'll obey laws and traffic signals. Wait until you have confirmation of what they plan to do, instead.
Never change lanes mid-way through an intersection or immediately before or after, as this can result in crashes with cars that are just entering an intersection and didn't see that you'd changed lanes when they began turning or merging.
Check your blind spots before turning, as a pedestrian, motorcycle, or bike might be approaching.