Most drivers have probably experienced a close call at an intersection. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that almost 50 percent of all motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections. It is important that all drivers know how to navigate intersections in order to prevent car accidents.
Intersections can include up to five intercrossing roadways. Travelers in each direction must obey either a traffic light or stop sign. That means many motorists depend on each other to do the right thing. Sometimes, they do not, and a serious accident occurs. The following are the most common causes of intersection accidents.
While speeding increases the likelihood and severity of an accident at any location, speeding through intersections can be especially dangerous for multiple reasons.
Drivers who have the right-of-way can be seriously injured when a motorist plows through an intersection when they should have stopped. Even if the driver tries to stop, speeding increases the time it takes to do so, and it often causes the motorist to lose control of their vehicle.
There could be bicyclists or pedestrians at the intersection as well. A speeding driver will not usually see anyone in the crosswalk until it is too late for them to completely stop. An unprotected person who is hit by a speeding driver could quickly become fatally injured.
Distracted driving is anything that takes a motorist’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or mind off driving. Distracted driving can easily cause a severe accident, especially at an intersection. When someone is texting, talking on the phone, eating, or engaging with passengers, the chance of an accident increases. They may fail to see stop signs, changing, yellow or red traffic lights, cars making left turns, or pedestrians.
An inattentive driver may fail to be aware of what other motorists are doing, not look carefully before turning, or not realize a crosswalk, stop sign, or red light is in front of them. Failure to look properly is a common reason for intersection accidents.
Many drivers are impatient. Maybe they are running late for an appointment or simply do not want to be stopped for a couple of minutes. Whatever the reason, a driver who sees a yellow light and tries to speed through it can cause a serious accident. Drivers need to slow down at yellow lights.
Violation of Traffic Laws
Drivers may fail to signal, make illegal U-turns, change lanes unsafely, tailgate, run through a red light or stop sign, or not give the right-of-way to pedestrians.
Turning right on red is a cause of accidents as well, as some drivers do not stop to see if it is safe to turn and then proceed in front of oncoming traffic. Even a minor infraction of a traffic law can cause a major accident at an intersection.
A driver may not accurately assess how fast an oncoming car is going and could turn left at an intersection in front of them, often causing grave harm to themselves and others. Every motorist needs to drive defensively and not assume other road users are going to do the right thing.
Drunk driving is dangerous, no matter where one is driving. With so many cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists at an intersection, a driver will need the ability to make good decisions. An impaired motorist will not be able to make sound driving decisions.
Drowsy driving has become a widespread problem. Drowsy driving can happen at any time of the day. A fatigued driver’s reflexes are slowed, which could lead to a serious car accident at an intersection.
While an obstructed view is not a motorist’s fault, they are still responsible for driving safely. A primary example of obstructed view is driving behind a tall truck that makes it impossible to see the traffic light or oncoming traffic. A driver may closely follow the truck, hoping the light is still green. Sometimes, it is not, and a collision occurs. There are occasions when a stop sign or stoplight is challenging to see because of its placement. In those cases, always approach the intersection with caution, and you should assume there is a traffic control device.
Inclement Weather Conditions
Drivers need to accommodate changing weather or road conditions. Heavy rain may obscure the view of oncoming traffic or impede your ability to stop suddenly. The posted speed limit is what you should drive in optimal conditions. Motorists need to adjust for hazardous road conditions.
At four-way stops, some drivers become confused about when they should yield or go. Accidents are common at these intersections, so you should review right-of-way rules, and do not assume other drivers know them.
What Types of Car Accidents Happen at Intersections?
While accidents of any type can happen at an intersection, here are the most common:
- Side-impact collisions: This happens when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another. Side-impact accidents often happen when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way or runs through a red light or stop sign.
- Head-on accidents: When one vehicle crashes into the front of another, severe injuries can occur.
- Left-turn crashes: A left-turn car accident happens when one driver makes a left turn and fails to yield to a motorist who is going straight through the intersection.
- Rear-end accidents: Drivers that speed or tailgate may not see motorists stopped at a traffic light. They may hit a motorist stopped at the intersection, often causing additional accidents.
What Should I Do After an Intersection Car Accident?
After an accident at an intersection, the first step you should do is seek medical treatment. It is also important to do the following:
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene. Capture as many images as possible. Take photographs of the vehicles, strewn parts, physical injuries, and road and weather conditions.
- Get witness statements. Talk to bystanders and other witnesses who saw what happened. Ask if you can record their statements.
- Do not apologize or admit guilt. Cooperate with the police and provide truthful information. However, never apologize or admit fault.
- Do not talk with the liable driver’s insurance company. You are not required to speak to an insurance company that will try to get you to admit partial responsibility. Refer them to your lawyer.
- Do not sign anything or accept an insurance offer. The insurance company of the guilty driver will likely offer you a settlement. Do not accept the offer before consulting a lawyer.
- Seek follow-up medical care. If you are not taken immediately to a hospital after an intersection accident, see your general physician as soon as possible. Some conditions take a while to show up, so be vigilant about your health.
- Hire a lawyer. A lawyer can help you build a case against the at-fault driver and protect your rights.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Advocate for Clients Severely Injured in Intersection
Accidents No one should suffer the physical, emotional, and financial devastation caused by an intersection accident. Our skilled Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can protect your rights. Contact us online or call us at 757-LAW-0000 today to set up a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.