From the casual driver to the professional, from bustling city crossroads to quiet suburban junctions, intersection accidents are an unfortunate reality we all need to understand and prevent. Buckle up, and let’s embark on this eye-opening journey as we dissect, discuss, and demystify intersection accidents, arming you with the knowledge to make your drive safer and smoother.
Stay with us as we steer through the facts, figures, and safety measures to help you avoid becoming another statistic on the road. Let’s drive the change!
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What is an Intersection Accident?
Roadways that intersect are important to connect people traveling by car, foot, or bicycle from one route to another. Understandably, intersections are high-risk areas for crashes, given the daily traffic of vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicycles. Several collisions occur at a 4-way intersection.
Where are accidents most likely to happen? Every day, many cars and pedestrians cross several intersections. The likelihood of accidents is increased by the large number of people and vehicles at intersections.
Intersection accidents can cause various injuries, such as head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, permanent disability, and even death.
Intersection Accident Statistics
What percentage of collisions occur at intersections? In the United States, intersections are responsible for around half of all traffic injuries and about one-quarter of all traffic fatalities yearly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36% of car accidents take place at intersections. More than half of all fatal and injury crashes take place at or close to junctions.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) records about 2.5 million intersection accidents each year. These collisions typically involve left turns.
According to the NHTSA, driver error is responsible for 96% of intersection accidents.
Unsignalized Intersection Crashes
Intersections that are not signalized have at least one movement governed by a STOP or YIELD sign. In 2020, there were 7,089 traffic fatalities involving an unsignalized intersection. Over 70% of all fatal intersection-related crashes nationwide from 2010 to 2012 occurred at unsignalized intersections.
Signalized Intersection Crashes
A signalized intersection is a junction where traffic signals manage traffic flow. These traffic signals, consisting of colored lights (usually red, yellow, and green), control the right of way for vehicles and pedestrians. In 2020, there were 3,537 traffic fatalities involving a signalized intersection.
What are the Leading Causes of Intersection Accidents?
Accidents at intersections usually arise from a number of similar factors. Even though every accident is different, the following are some of the most commonly identified causes:
Distracted driving: Any action that diverts a driver’s focus from the main task of driving is considered to be distracted driving. Driving while distracted can put other drivers in danger. Texting, eating, drinking, conversing with other passengers, using a GPS system, and adjusting the radio are all examples.
Speeding: Speeding puts everyone on the road in danger, and it frequently worsens car crashes, leading to increased rates of fatalities and catastrophic injuries. Driving too fast for the road conditions or over the permitted speed limit might make it more difficult for a vehicle to stop on time to prevent an accident at an intersection.
Running red lights: According to the Federal Highway Administration, about 45% of vehicle collisions occur at a road intersection, and the source of the problem is typically due to running a stop sign or a stop light. This indicates that in the United States, tens of thousands of car accidents happen each year as a result of a driver failing to stop at a red light or stop sign and colliding with another vehicle.
Reckless driving: One of the leading cause of intersection accidents is reckless driving, commonly referred to as aggressive driving. Many reckless driving habits are the result of drivers who are aggravated, angry, or experiencing road rage. Every year, reckless driving habits, including speeding, tailgating, teen driving, and disobeying traffic laws, cause thousands of accidents.
Driving under the influence: Due to the negative effects of alcohol on brain function, drunk driving results in accidents. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair a driver’s judgment, coordination, control, and other skills. Driving while intoxicated significantly increases the likelihood of intersection accidents.
Inadequate signage: Vehicle collisions are influenced by poor road conditions and inadequate road signage. Drivers may fail to see the signs they should pay attention to in order to avoid collisions due to small signs, poorly lit signs, badly placed signs, and other difficulties.
Vehicle defects: Each year, mechanical issues cause tens of thousands of vehicle collisions. While a vehicle’s lack of maintenance causes some of these incidents, many are brought on by flaws in how cars are made.
On May 9, 2023, in Andover, Massachusetts, a 6-year-old girl lost her life after being hit by a tractor-trailer at a major intersection.
A woman places pinwheels at the site of last night’s fatal crash in Andover. A six-year-old child was hit by a tractor-trailer while crossing the street. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/di5VeZ9O0j
— David Bienick (@BienickWCVB) May 10, 2023
Keep in mind that it is the duty of every driver to drive safely and in compliance with the law.
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Types of Intersection Accidents
Intersection accidents can be classified in various ways depending on the nature of the collision, the direction of vehicles, and the type of intersection involved. Here are some of the most common types of intersection car accidents:
Side impact or T-bone accident: When the front of one car collides with the side of another, it’s called a T-bone collision. Due to the location of the impact, it is also known as a side impact accident. T-bone crashes typically occur at intersections, although they can also occur whenever a car crosses a highway.
Rear-end accident: Although many other intersection configurations might result in accidents, rear-end crashes are the most prevalent type of intersection accident. When a driver strikes the car directly in front of them from behind, it is called a rear-end collision. They frequently happen at a stop sign, a red light, or in heavy traffic.
Head-on accident: Head-on accidents are riskier than you think. Due to the combined speeds of the two cars, a head-on collision could be particularly fatal. Children’s safety seats, seat belts, and airbags all work to prevent head-on collisions. But it’s possible that none of these safety precautions will be sufficient to stop serious accidents.
Pedestrian accident: Accidents involving pedestrians often occur at intersections. A driver or pedestrian may be more likely to cause an accident if they disregard the rules of the road. Accidents involving pedestrians can sometimes be fatal due to their nature. Five thousand nine hundred seventy-seven pedestrians were killed in car accidents in the United States in 2017, according to the CDC.
Left-Turn or Right-Turn Accidents: For both drivers and passengers concerned, making a turn at the wrong time can have disastrous results and catastrophic injuries. Car collisions involving left turns can be very dangerous. The majority of drivers are aware that because there is a chance of colliding with oncoming traffic, left-hand turns are riskier than right-hand turns. Because most crossroads guarantee straight-through cars the right of way, many left-turn car accidents are the turning driver’s fault.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents: A collision involving numerous vehicles is known as a multi-vehicle accident. People frequently call this kind of collision “pile-ups,” especially when six or more vehicles are involved. Highways with hundreds of vehicles traveling side by side at high speeds frequently experience multiple vehicle accidents.
Bicycle Accidents: There are many distinct potential causes of bicycle accidents at intersections, many of which are driver-related. Despite the fact that there may be several causes for the collision, the majority of cyclists who are hit by cars get severe injuries.
Below, you can see how to avoid an intersection accident:
Who is At Fault in an Intersection Accident?
Determining liability in an intersection accident is often a complex puzzle involving a careful analysis of evidence, an understanding of traffic laws, and sometimes expert opinions.
There are generally two or more people involved in intersection accidents, and the most important question in the immediate aftermath is frequently who is to blame or what caused the collision. Liability can result from a variety of circumstances, and responsibility is not necessarily solely the responsibility of one person.
It would be best to comprehend how responsibility and negligence act concerning car crashes to determine who is to blame for your intersection accident. Negligence is when a person or party suffers harm as a result of an error, irresponsible behavior, or failure to take particular precautions on the part of another person or party. The person who disobeyed a traffic law is the one who is at fault when an accident happens at an intersection.
What if the fault lies with both drivers? If one party cannot be held totally responsible for an incident, comparative negligence allows two or more parties to share blame in a personal injury action.
Comparative Negligence: Comparative negligence is a principle of tort law frequently used to determine the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover in a negligence-based claim. The defendant might assert comparative negligence to limit the plaintiff’s recovery if the accident victim sued the party who caused them harm.
There are two forms of comparative negligence:
Pure Comparative Negligence: Under this rule, plaintiffs can recover damages even if they’re mostly at fault. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 90% at fault, they can still recover 10% of the damages.
Modified Comparative Negligence: In this rule, plaintiffs can recover damages only if they are less than 50% or 51% at fault, depending on the state. If the plaintiff’s fault level reaches this limit, they cannot recover damages.
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How to Prove Liability in Intersection Accidents?
You can establish liability in an intersection accident with the aid of an accomplished car accident lawyer. Liability in an intersection accident can be complicated to determine, and the process typically takes multiple steps. Here are some common approaches:
Gather evidence: The first step after an accident is collecting evidence, such as photos and videos. This can be helpful in establishing who is at fault.
Eyewitness statement: An eyewitness statement can also be a powerful indicator of fault in intersection accidents. Many people, including other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians, will have seen intersection accidents. If one or more people can provide testimony regarding what transpired, their testimony may be essential for proving your legal rights.
Understand traffic rules: Understanding the traffic laws that apply to the situation is crucial. Knowing who had the right of way, the significance of any traffic signals or signs, and any other applicable laws are all included in this.
Police report: The police report is an essential piece of documentation that might provide the officer’s assessment of who was at fault based on their inspection.
Medical records: Even if you believe your vehicle accident wasn’t too serious, getting checked right afterward is crucial. Because you delayed seeing a doctor, you won’t have any medical records to support your claim.
You must demonstrate your injuries in order to be entitled to any compensation the at-fault driver owes you. Your condition’s severity, the diagnosis, the outlook, and the therapies needed to help you recover will all be documented in your medical records.
Accident reconstruction: Accident reconstruction focuses on the study of the causes of intersection accidents. Accident reconstruction can be extremely useful in determining who is to blame for the accident as well as why it occurred.
A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to gather proof, speak with potential witnesses, and get the services of relevant expert witnesses to show that you are not to blame for your injuries. By reviewing medical records, attorneys can get detailed information about the injuries you sustained during the accident.
Medical records often contain doctors’ notes and opinions, which could be used as expert opinions in a legal setting. These could help substantiate the claim and give more weight to the evidence.
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To wind up,
Every intersection accident is as unique as the drivers involved and the circumstances surrounding it. Despite the intricacies, keeping a clear head, promptly gathering evidence, and seeking professional advice can greatly aid in unraveling who’s at fault. Remember, while we navigate through intersections, let’s not forget the intersections of responsibility and safety because the goal is not just to determine fault but to make our roads safer for everyone.
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