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Intersections a Common Site for Traffic Accidents

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Intersections can be chaotic and, when things go wrong, hold the potential for serious accidents. It should come as no surprise that intersections are disproportionately likely to serve as the location of traffic accidents. Read on to learn more about the causes of crashes in traffic intersections, and ways to prevent these accidents.

Intersections play host to large share of crashes

Intersections take up only a small percentage of roadway area. Despite this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about 40% of all traffic accidents occur in intersections. This means that crashes in intersections are second only to rear-end accidents in frequency on US roads.

According to a study conducted by the NHTSA on the causes of intersection accidents, many of these crashes could be prevented through greater care being taken by drivers; over 90% of these accidents were the result of driver error. Common errors included:

Insufficient surveillance: 44% of accidents studied were attributed primarily to a driver failing to scan an intersection thoroughly before entering it or turning. Insufficient surveillance was found to be the most common single cause of accidents in intersections.

Turning with an obstructed view: Turning left without a signal, or turning right on a red light when it is difficult to see oncoming traffic, was pegged as the cause of another 20% of intersection accidents.

False assumption of other driver’s action: Intersections involve numerous rules and common practices. Often, we assume that other drivers will follow those rules, even when we aren’t following them ourselves. Assuming that another driver will stop when a light has just turned red, for example, and making a left turn in front of that oncoming car, could result in a crash if the driver instead accelerates to get through the light.

Ways to avoid intersection crashes

There are steps all drivers can take to reduce their chances of being injured in an intersection crash, including:

Waiting to go when a light turns green. Resist the urge to punch the gas when your light turns green; instead, wait to see if any cars are still straggling through the intersection on a red light before you start to drive.

Don’t assume. Rather than assume an oncoming car will stop at a yellow (or even red) light, or that they’ll yield to oncoming traffic before turning, wait to see some evidence of their intentions before you make a move.

Check your blind spots. Be sure to look in your mirrors or over your shoulder before you turn at an intersection. Pedestrians, motorcycles, or cyclists may have appeared between your car and where you plan to turn during the time you were waiting for a break in traffic.

If you’ve been injured in a New Jersey intersection crash, contact the dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation, at 973-532-9681.

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