Dangerous Real Estate: Intersections
Nearly every trip you take in your vehicle involves driving through intersections. They’re all locations of possible conflict between you, other motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Intersections are sites where you can suffer a minor fender-bender or a vehicle can be totaled and occupants killed by the force of the accident.
Tyler Fleck helps car accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. If you’re injured at an intersection because of another party, contact Tyler so we can discuss Kentucky law, how it may apply in your case, and your best options for moving forward.
Why are Intersections Dangerous?
Vehicle accidents often happen at intersections because that’s where two or more roads connect. Vehicles turn left, cross over, and turn right, potentially causing conflicts that result in crashes. There could also be businesses, stores, and homes near the intersection, so there’s more traffic coming onto and off the roadway.
The greater the traffic volume, the greater the danger. Vehicles are heading in different directions, stop signs and lights may be ignored, pedestrians may be crossing, and lighting and weather conditions may be bad. You should pay attention to what’s going on in all directions though that may not be enough to avoid an accident that’s someone else’s fault.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report in 2010 on intersection accidents. It states that about 40% of the estimated 5,811,000 vehicle crashes in the US in 2008 were related to intersections. Another NHTSA report on intersections estimates that every year slightly more than 20% of all vehicle accident fatalities in the US happen in intersections.
The most common event before an accident happens is turning or crossing the intersection (36%). This includes turning left (22.2%) and going straight through (12.6%), while few accidents involved vehicles turning right (1.2%).
What Causes Intersection Accidents?
Driver error causes nearly all intersection accidents, according to NHTSA. Of 787,236 intersection-related crashes in one study, about 96% were caused by drivers, with vehicles or weather conditions causing less than 3%. Outside of intersections, drivers cause 92% of crashes. The most common mistakes at intersections were:
- 44.1% the driver didn’t look sufficiently around the vehicle
- 8.4% false assumption by drivers of others’ future action
- 7.8% turned in an intersection despite having an obstructed view
- 6.8% made an illegal maneuver
- 5.7% internal distraction
- 5.5% misjudged the space between another vehicle or its speed
NHTSA found the most common reasons for accidents at intersections with traffic lights or stop signs varied on drivers’ ages:
- Younger than 24: Internal distraction, false assumptions of other’s actions, going too fast for conditions or driving aggressively, and external distractions
- Ages 25 to 54: Non-performance error (like being drowsy or asleep), illegal maneuver, inattention, and driving too fast for conditions or aggressively
- Ages 55 and older: Not looking around sufficiently, misjudging the gap between another vehicle or its speed
What Role Does Drive Age Play in Intersection Accidents?
NHTSA states older drivers (65 years old and older) disproportionately have problems at intersections:
- 31% of all fatal crashes at intersections involved at least one older driver but only 13% of all accidents away from intersections involved an older driver
- There’s a greater chance an older driver will be involved in a fatal, two-vehicle intersection collision compared to drivers of other ages
- About 18% of drivers running red lights and 34% of those failing to yield at traffic lights at intersections are older
Older drivers are more involved in failure-to-yield crashes when there are traffic lights and stop signs. This can happen when a driver obeys the sign or light, but fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle. Vehicles driven by older drivers were mostly turning left at traffic signals and hit by an oncoming vehicle on the passenger side. At stop signs, they were mostly going straight or turning left when they were hit on the driver’s side.
Watch Your Back
It’s not just those going through the intersection you need to worry about, it’s also the vehicles approaching it. A NHTSA study of rear-end accidents found that about 30% of them were intersection-related, including intersections of roads with highway entrances or exit ramps.
Get the Legal Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust
If you or a family member are injured in a vehicle accident in or near an intersection, we can help. If you have questions about your rights to compensation for vehicle accident injuries or want legal representation, contact The Fleck Firm for a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We’ll talk about the accident, the law, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.