Different roads have different risks. Highways have heavy traffic traveling at high speeds. The risk is always there for someone to lose control of their vehicles and cause a crash. Surface streets often seem safer because people travel at slower speeds. However, the frequent stops, turns and interactions with other vehicles make them equally dangerous.
Crashes that occur at intersections account for over a third of all reported collisions according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Most of those crashes stem from the same two mistakes while driving. Let’s look at those.
Inadequate surveillance by drivers
When you stop at an intersection, it is critical to verify what every other vehicle is about to do before you proceed through the intersection. Some people don’t take the necessary time to monitor the other vehicles at the intersection and may therefore end up causing a crash because they didn’t pay attention. Inadequate surveillance is responsible for 44.1% of all intersection crashes.
False assumptions or bad estimation of speed or gaps
When people do take the time to watch for others, they may still cause crashes if they make assumptions about what the other driver will do. Although the law mandates the use of turn signals, many people fail to consistently utilize them while driving.
Drivers cause crashes both by failing to signal and by proceeding aggressively after assuming what someone else was about to do. Drivers can also cause wrecks when they misjudge the distance between cars or the speed of approaching vehicles. Inaccurate assumptions and bad visual estimates cause another 13.9% of intersection crashes.
The other major issues that contribute to intersection crashes are driver distraction, illegal driving maneuvers and visibility issues. Understanding that most of these causes are preventable with care can help you hold another driver responsible if you get into a serious car crash at an intersection or anywhere.