Driving through or turning at an intersection occurs virtually every day for most drivers. While almost a mundane daily ritual, intersections can oftentimes be a dangerous location, particularly when many roads and crossing traffic lanes meet together. By its very design, an intersection is where vehicles driving on different highways or roads may come into opposition.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, approximately 40% of the estimated 5.8 million vehicular crashes that occur annually were linked to an intersection accident. Not only do these intersection-related crashes adversely impact drivers, but pedestrians and bicyclists are at an even higher risk of getting injured in these accidents. Accidents that take place at an intersection can predominantly be attributed to driver negligence. However, this statement alone does not tell the whole story. To learn more about the issue of intersection accidents, their causes, and potential solutions, continue reading!
What Causes Car Accidents at Intersections
While car crashes can occur anywhere, intersections are particularly prone to accidents. As previously mentioned, the vast majority, approximately 96 percent, of these intersection driving errors can be credited to driver error: Among these potential defects and other shortcomings include:
- Inadequate surveillance. The driver fails to look to safely maneuver because the driver does not look in the correct places or looks, but does not notice. This comprises 44.1 percent of driver-related errors in intersection-related crashes.
- False assumption of other’s actions. Perhaps a driver was under the pretense that the opposing vehicle was turning, but the other vehicle continued straight. More than 230,000 accidents take place annual because of this mistake.
- Turned with obstructed view. An obstructed view can occur as a result of many scenarios, whether it be defective windows or objects hanging from mirrors.
- Illegal maneuver. Illegal driving maneuvers may include, but are not limited to: changing lanes when forbidden, illegal U-turns, and running a stop sign.
- Internal distraction. These distractions encompass a wide range of scenarios, such as using a cellphone, changing the radio station, eating a snack, and daydreaming.
Some intersection driving errors may also be a result of road conditions, rather than driver error, including inadequate signs, incorrectly marked lanes, improper inclines or declines, fallen trees after a hurricane, and defective traffic lights.
Accidents Oftentimes Take Place at Intersections
Annually, there are approximately 2.5 million intersection-related accidents, making it 40 percent of all vehicular crashes; it is the second-largest category of accidents, only behind rear-end collisions. Of the intersection accidents that occur every year, red-light runners are responsible for about 165,000 accidents. While many suffer injuries that range from minor to severe, there are approximately 700-900 fatalities annually caused by red-light runners. Furthermore, according to a AAA report, the United States is experiencing the highest rate of death in 10 years for accidents related to drivers running a red light. Red-light running is a pressing intersection driving issue and a notable safety concern across the country.
Tides Changing: How Have Intersections Become Safer Over the Years?
Although the statistics may sometimes paint a grim picture, they are necessary. By evaluating researched data, road safety can be improved. Currently, increased intersection safety serves as a top priority for numerous private and government agencies, including the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Institute of Transportation Engineers. A collective effort to innovate road design, enhance traffic control devices, develop more comprehensive driver training, and update driving rules and regulations can help drivers, bikers, and pedestrians alike.
Learn more about intersection accidents to help improve the safety of our Florida roads.