According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 40 percent of all motor vehicle accidents and 20 percent of all fatal crashes occur at intersections.
So it should come as no surprise that intersections are far-and-away the most dangerous places on our roadways. They require pedestrians, bicycles and motors vehicles to cross paths at various speeds, setting the table for a potentially fatal scenario.
Take a second and try to recall the number of intersections you drive through on your way to work every morning — a lot more than you thought, right?
It’s common for drivers to let their guards down when traveling the same route, and that’s when accidents can happen. Everyone on the road — even the most seasoned driver — is susceptible to an intersection-related accident.
But if you follow these five rules, you may decrease your odds of becoming a FHWA statistic.
- Always watch for cross traffic when approaching an intersection. Even if you have the right-of-way, don’t assume every driver will stop on ‘red’.
- When turning right on ‘red’, make sure the car ahead of you clears. Read-end collisions are one of the most common intersection-related accidents.
- Side-swipes are the other most common type of intersection-related accidents. It’s important to never change lanes while driving through an intersection as another vehicle may be turning from a cross street into your lane.
- A faulty or dead traffic light system, creating an uncontrolled intersection, is one of the most dangerous traffic situations. Always treat an intersection with a faulty traffic light system as a four-way stop - but be extremely cognizant that some drivers may not know what do to in this situation.
- Vehicles aren’t the only ones traveling through intersections. Watch for pedestrians using sidewalks and cyclists using bicycle lanes before accelerating or turning at an intersection.