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Why do so many crashes occur at intersections?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Car Accidents

Intersections are dangerous in an obvious sort of way. With multiple lanes of traffic crossing each other, the potential for collisions is an unignorable safety concern. Many traffic statutes exist solely to regulate the conduct of motorists as they approach and pass through intersections.

Some intersections have stop lights, which have their own sets of rules. Others have traffic signs posted to every lane of oncoming traffic, which may force every approaching vehicle to stop. Other streets may require traffic on one road to stop while vehicles on the other street travel uninterrupted.

If every driver consistently followed the rules for navigating intersections, crashes would be relatively rare. Unfortunately, many drivers do not follow the rules, and intersection crashes are common. The following are some of the leading reasons that intersection collisions occur.

Failure to monitor surroundings

Considering how there could be oncoming traffic approaching from multiple different directions, most drivers recognize that they need to check their surroundings carefully at an intersection. However, especially when someone is close to home, a driver might convince themselves that they don’t need to check for oncoming traffic.

Motorists sometimes pull out into an intersection without actually checking for oncoming or approaching traffic. They then wind up hitting someone or getting struck by another vehicle due to that failure to check their surroundings properly. Such incidents are responsible for almost half of all intersection crashes.

Obstructed lines of sight

Some intersections are relatively tight and narrow with buildings nearby. Those intersections can be hard for drivers to properly monitor. The same is true for rural intersections with high levels of plant growth. Vegetation can be what compromises someone’s line of sight and prevents them from spotting another vehicle nearby. Visibility issues can exacerbate a failure to properly monitor the area.

Incorrect assumptions

Drivers typically have an obligation to communicate with others in traffic. They use brake lights and turn signals to ensure that others nearby know exactly what they intend to do. The failure to use those systems or to maintain a vehicle might lead to others not realizing when another driver intends to stop or turn. Many other crashes occur because people fail to properly gauge the speed of other vehicles.

Many seemingly small mistakes can result in dire implications for other people in traffic. Even at low speeds, intersection collisions cause serious injuries and sometimes fatalities. Handling an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit after a car crash can be a stressful process for someone already coping with challenges because of their injuries. Drivers who recognize and account for common risks may feel more confident pursuing compensation because they know a crash was not their fault.


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