Intersections may be dangerous areas for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Since several cars pass through intersections heading in various directions or making right or left turns, catastrophic car accidents may occur if drivers are not paying close attention to other vehicles, traffic signals, or pedestrians or objects on the road. More than ten thousand of 2019’s estimated 36,000 fatal car accidents happened at intersections, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The same data further states that over half of all traffic-related fatalities and injuries in the United States occur at intersections annually. Traumatic brain damage, limb loss, spinal cord injuries, and death are some outcomes that may arise in these kinds of collisions.
If you or your loved one were injured in an intersection accident that was someone else’s fault, you might be able to get financial compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You might need an intersection accident lawyer to ensure you get fair compensation after an intersection accident. A personal injury attorney can help you build a strong case against the responsible party and ensure your claim is successful.
Causes of car crashes at intersections
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most (about 94%) car accidents at intersections are caused by drivers’ behavior. While navigating intersections, drivers may make various mistakes that cause them to crash with or injure others.
Some of the common causes of accidents at intersections are:
1. Inadequate surveillance
The most common cause of accidents at intersections is a driver’s inability to monitor their surroundings appropriately. Examples include collisions caused by drivers failing to look both ways before going through an intersection or failing to check for other cars or pedestrians before making a turn.
2. Turning with an obstructed view
Objects on the road or other cars may obscure a driver’s view of vehicles or people approaching a crossroads. If a car continues through an intersection mindlessly, this might lead to an accident.
As drivers turn left, especially on multi-lane highways, their vision of approaching traffic may be blocked. Moreover, left-hand turns need greater physical and mental effort from the driver. They must make split-second decisions regarding the speed of incoming traffic and be hyper-aware of traffic arriving from three separate directions.
3. False assumptions
False assumptions are another cause of intersection-related accidents. Drivers must often make assumptions regarding the speed and directional route of other cars and the time left at traffic lights while making judgments at multi-lane junctions. When drivers make the incorrect decision, the consequence might be a severe multi-car accident.
Collisions may also occur when a person assumes that other drivers or pedestrians would do particular things, such as give them the right of way. A motorist who continues through an intersection without checking to see whether other cars have done as anticipated may cause an accident.
4. Internal distractions
Internal distractions are most often caused by other passengers and mobile phones. Internal distractions are items within a driver’s vehicle that temporarily prevent them from paying attention to the road.
Eating, grooming, managing music/audio controls, caring for children, reading or writing, and conversing with other passengers are all examples of internal distractions. These diversions occur more often than individuals think at intersections, where people frequently go to and from work.
5. Illegal maneuvers
Other than speeding, unlawful maneuvers refer to a wide spectrum of driver acts that contravene traffic laws. All motorists are required by law to stop at a red light. Failing to do so may cause a deadly collision. Vehicles that want to turn right must come to a full stop before turning, and failure to do so may result in a deadly intersection or pedestrian collision.
Running a red light is against the law and cars that rush through the intersection risk colliding with other vehicles.
6. Rear-end crashes
These are the most frequently reported intersection accidents. This is because cars that slow down for a yellow light are often rear-ended by an aggressive motorist who wants to run the light. The motorist who rear-ends another vehicle is typically to blame for the mishap.