Drivers need to be cautious behind the wheel of their vehicles at all times, but especially when approaching or passing through an intersection. When vehicles come together at areas where roads intersect, there is significant potential for car accidents to occur.
The elevated crash risk exists at all intersection types, with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting a study of 787,236 car crashes found 52.5 percent of intersection accidents occurred at intersections with a traffic control signal; 31.3 percent of crashes occurred at intersections controlled by stop signs; and 15.9 percent of crashes occurred at intersections without a traffic control device.
By following best practices for safety at every intersection, drivers can reduce the chances of becoming one of the many victims of crashes at areas where roads intersect.
Tips for Preventing Intersection Crashes
RSI Insurance Brokers provided many tips for the prevention of collisions at intersections. Advice which drivers should consider following to reduce their crash risks includes the following:
- Defense driving practices: Defensive drivers count on their own behaviors to prevent crashes. Don't assume every motorist approaching will follow the rules of the intersection. Plan as if the other drivers will make mistakes, so you can make rational choices about how to stay safe if these other motorists don't yield the right-of-way or obey traffic signals as they are required to.
- Make sure there's ample time. Before crossing any intersection, and especially an uncontrolled one, be sure you don't enter the intersection until you are sure you can cross it entirely and clear it before another car comes. Other drivers crossing the intersection may not slow down if you are blocking it and may strike your vehicle.
- Know the danger times. The highest risks associated with intersection accidents can occur at dawn and at dusk when visibility is impacted.
- Exercise extra caution to look for cars at red lights. Some motorists have become involved in intersection accidents because all their focus is on the traffic control light and they instinctively drive when the light turns green. Green, however, does not mean everyone in your path is out of the way or will necessarily obey the signals. Pay attention to what cars around are actually doing, not what you expect them to do, and look before you drive into the intersection.
In the commercial trucking industry, truck company operators should also take steps to prevent truckers from getting into side-impact or T-bone collisions, which are common when intersection accidents happen.
For example, truckers should keep side lamps and reflective devices clear and operational and should make absolutely certain there is sufficient time for a trailer to clear the area before getting around it. Developing a step-by-step process for entering intersections, training workers, and monitoring crashes to adjust training are all possible ways companies employing commercial drivers can help with intersection crash prevention.