Intersections are dangerous, and car accidents within them are common. “More than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections,” says the Federal Highway Administration.
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to avoid an accident at an intersection. The best you can do is practice safe driving and try to anticipate the mistakes or dangerous maneuvers others can make.
With that in mind, the following are some of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of a car crash at an intersection:
Defensive driving is driving under the assumption that other people on the road can, at any time, do something dangerous. You’ll often find that this is true!
As such, when approaching an intersection situation, never anticipate that everyone else on the road will behave as they should. “Always assume when approaching an intersection that cross traffic or pedestrians may not obey traffic control devices or yield right-of-way,” advises Markel Insurance.
A great example is that people will often try to run the red light, or they will completely ignore a stop sign. If traffic is still approaching the intersection, wait and observe what they will do before you proceed. Also, never assume cross-traffic will slow down when turning left in front of it. Only make maneuvers like left turns when you know it is completely safe.
Leave Ample Room for the Vehicle in Front of You
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of intersection accident, says traffic safety solutions provider TAPCO. Many of these accidents happen when a line of vehicles is turning right, and the vehicle ahead needs to stop or slow down to yield to others.
Rear-end accidents also happen when a vehicle fails to stop in time for a fresh red light. Pay close attention to light changes and brake lights ahead of you, and slow down well before you are forced to stop.
Also, when stopping, leave enough space between your vehicle and the one ahead so that you can see pavement below their tires. You can’t control whether someone might rear-end you, but leaving space reduces the risk that you will then collide with the vehicle in front of you — a collision where you might be at fault for having been too close.
Don’t Change Lanes Mid-Intersection
As a rule, you should never switch lanes until you have completely cleared the intersection. Wait until the lane markers reappear, and then check your surroundings before maneuvering. Traffic may be zipping by or trying to maneuver around vehicles at the same time you are, which can lead to a sideswipe crash. Lane changes mid-intersection are even illegal in some states, and it could result in a citation.
Approach the Intersection Cautiously
Your eyes should be scanning the entire roadway when you approach an intersection. Check each possible entry and exit point multiple times before proceeding, looking out for sudden cross traffic.
Also, never run a red light, and slow down for yellow lights rather than racing ahead.
Watch for Pedestrians and Cyclists, Especially When Turning Right or Left
Pedestrians, cyclists, and other small hazards can be hard to spot in an intersection, especially if you’re moving through at fast speeds. Take the time to scan your entire surroundings, and consider possibilities like a small child darting into traffic.
Some of the most common pedestrian accidents result when a vehicle is turning left or right at an intersection through an occupied crosswalk. This sort of risk is why you should always be cautious and not distracted when moving through an intersection.
Follow the Basics of Safe Driving
- Obey traffic laws
- Reduce speed when moving through a potentially hazardous situation
- Focus on the road; don’t get distracted
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drive only when you are rested and healthy enough
Don’t Admit Fault in an Accident, and Speak to an Attorney
One important rule to remember is that should you find yourself in an accident, don’t admit that you were at fault or apologize for any mistakes you might have made. An intersection car accident can be a confusing situation with a lot of involved parties. You may think you caused an accident or made a bad move, only to find out another driver was really at fault.
Instead, focus on documenting the scene, and always report the accident. Seek a prompt medical evaluation, even if you don’t feel hurt, and then speak to an experienced Long Island car accident attorney. You can speak to a lawyer near you at TonaLaw during a free consultation. You will learn about your options and find out what forms of compensation could be available to you. Schedule a free, no-obligation case review now when you call 1-833-TONALAW or contact us online.