A key to a car is like a key to freedom; nothing quite compares to being able to go wherever you want whenever you want. However, if your responsibility as a driver is not implemented properly, it could also be the key to disaster. More than 32,000 people are killed in motor vehicle wrecks each year and an additional 2.2 million Americans are injured annually in vehicle accidents a year. And in Tampa, your are 42.1% more like to be involved in an auto accident compared to the national average.
An accident can happen anywhere, but intersections are one particular area that poses many threats to drivers. An intersection is a road junction where two or more roadways meet, cross, or converge. Functionally, it’s where traffic moving in different directions all comes together. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 40% of all crashes nationwide – and 21% of all fatal crashes – occur at intersections. In Florida, nearly 29% of statewide traffic fatalities between 2006 and 2010 were related to intersections. In that five-year period, 4,719 people were killed and another 50,408 were seriously injured in intersection-related crashes.
So why are intersections so dangerous and how can you stay safe when driving through one?
The Danger of Intersections
Intersections present many hazards for a number of reasons; traffic is coming from 4 different directions, it is usually congested, and many drivers speed up or change lanes at intersections causing unsafe conditions.
While crossing over at intersections with traffic signals or stop signs, crashes are commonly caused by a driver’s lack of attention or illegal maneuvers. Drivers turning left at intersections with traffic signals or stop signs are likely to become involved in accidents because their view is obstructed or they misjudge the speed of an oncoming vehicle. Crashes involving right turns at stop signs are often attributed to a driver’s false assumption about another vehicle’s actions.
Age plays a part in intersection accidents as well. Studies show that accidents at intersections involving drivers ages 24 and younger are likely to be caused by a driver’s internal or external distraction, a false assumption or another vehicle’s action, or speeding/aggressive driving. Drivers ages 25-54 at intersections are commonly involved in crashes because of illegal maneuvers, inattention, medical impairment, or aggressive driving. Drivers 55 years and older tend to be involved in accidents at intersections because of inadequate surveillance or misjudging the speed of another vehicle.
Sex is also taken into consideration when evaluating why intersections are so dangerous. Female drivers involved in crashes at intersections are likely to have misjudged other drivers’ actions or to have been distracted by an internal circumstance. Male drivers, on the other hand, are more likely to have been involved in traffic signal intersection crashes because of illegal maneuvers or aggressive driving/speeding.
Female drivers involved in crashes at intersections controlled by traffic signals are likely to have misjudged other drivers’ actions or to have been distracted by an internal circumstance. Male drivers, on the other hand, are more likely to have been involved in traffic signal intersection crashes because of critical non-performance errors, illegal maneuvers, or aggressive driving/speeding.
What you can do to stay safe
If you own and operate a vehicle, chances are you are going to encounter an intersection at some point. It’s impossible to avoid them, so instead, learn how to be safe when driving through them with the following tips:
- Using your blinkers
- Maintaining your vehicle
- Raising your caution level
- Demonstrating extra caution during congested traffic times
- Be aware of bicycles and pedestrians
- Not driving impaired or drowsy
- Not eating and driving
- Never running a red light
- Always wearing your seatbelt
- Stowing away electronic devices
- Evaluating your own driving skills (taking a defensive driver evaluation course)
- Being courteous to other drivers
Automobile accidents will always be unexpected and can turn a good day into a bad one, a very bad one. However, if you drive with caution and take the necessary safeguards in dangerous areas, such as intersections or roundabouts, not only will you have the key to freedom, but to safety as well. And consider my Tips on How to Avoid Car Accidents, from the Perspective of an Accident Attorney.
Seriously Injured in a Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident at an intersection in Tampa, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys for a no obligation case consultation. We represent clients on a contingency fee, meaning that if we don’t recover damages, they don’t pay us.