Did you know that about half of all US road crashes are intersection accidents? This statistic suggests that it is one of the most dangerous places to drive. Alarming, isn’t it? Yet, so many drivers pass through intersections all the time and barely even give it any thought.
How to Avoid Intersection Accidents
Intersection accidents are prevalent, particularly in urban areas. And moreover, in areas where vehicle speeds are high, the consequence of collisions at intersections can be particularly severe.
The chances of avoiding death or severe injury decrease dramatically when driving over 50 miles per hour. This is data for the latest and most modern types of cars. Chances of survival for older vehicles, and particularly for vulnerable road users, are even lower.
After a case study on intersection accidents at dangerous intersections of Lakeland, Florida, the following tips can be shared to avoid them. See below:
- Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving in the United States in 2014 caused over three thousand deaths. A significant number of these crashes happened at intersections. Cell phone use, daydreaming, eating, and other distractions were responsible for making drivers run red lights and stop signs. To avoid intersection accidents, you must avoid distractions at all costs while behind the wheel.
- Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Maintaining a safe following distance will give you plenty of time to brake if the car ahead of you stops suddenly. This is a common occurrence at intersections where a vehicle runs a red light. It may also happen if pedestrians unexpectedly enter the intersection. Be sure to extend your following distance to account for slick roads and low visibility in inclement weather.
- Anticipate the Actions of Other Drivers
Running a red light may be illegal, but it is still expected due to driver distractions. In some cases, drivers text or adjust GPS systems at red lights, and if they let their feet off the brake, they may unknowingly enter the intersection.
If you notice a motorist approaching the intersection from a perpendicular road, and the driver does not appear to be slowing down, hit your brakes.
- Do Not Race a Yellow Light
Although it may be tempting to race a yellow light, this behavior will make you less prepared for unexpected hazards. Suppose you hit the accelerator and a driver runs a red light, or a pedestrian enters the intersection. In that case, the accident is likely to be severe. Waiting a few minutes for a green light is much better than causing a fatal crash.
- Always Signal Your Lane Changes
Additionally, to make crossing intersections safer, always use your turn signals appropriately. Activating them too soon could send the wrong message to another driver and cause them to make a mistake. Not giving other drivers enough time could also result in a collision.
Assess each situation and use your signals in a way that helps other drivers make good decisions. Regardless of who has the right-of-way, safety at intersections is everyone’s responsibility. Learning how to make better decisions will improve your safety every time you get behind the wheel.
- Check for Crosswalks
Always assume that there is a crosswalk at the corners of an intersection. Watch for any pedestrians in the crosswalk before entering an intersection. When making a right turn, be sure to look left and right for vehicular traffic and pedestrian or bicycle traffic that may enter the crosswalk.
- Be Extra Careful
Sometimes it is not all about just hitting other cars. You may hit pedestrians, children playing in residential areas, bicycles, or motorcycles. Take a moment to scan your surroundings before moving. It could be the thin line between life and death.
Intersection Accidents Are Preventable
The tips shared in this article can go a long way to preventing intersection accidents. However, there will always be factors out of your control. Nevertheless, after all is said and done, driving defensively and staying vigilant will increase your odds of safely making it to your final destination.