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Why are there so many crashes at intersections?

Did you know that nearly half of all crashes occur at intersections? According to the Federal Highway Administration, this puts them in second place only to rear-end collisions when it comes to how often they happen. You would think that with so many traffic control devices such as signals and signs that wouldn't be the case.

Intersection accidents are almost entirely preventable as evidenced by the fact that no less than 96% of these wrecks happen because of driver inattention or error. The more you know about why the majority of intersection accidents occur, the better your chances are of not becoming part of the annual statistics.

What does the data say?

In order to figure out the most prevalent factors leading to crashes at intersections, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted research that revealed the following:

  • Around 5.5% misjudged the other driver's speed.
  • Nearly 5.7% were distracted by something in the vehicle.
  • Approximately 6.8% performed an illegal maneuver.
  • Around 7.8% turned despite an obstructed view.
  • About 8.4% made the wrong assumption about the other driver's actions.
  • A surprising 44.1% failed to adequately keep track of the surroundings.

As you can see, many drivers failed to pay attention to other vehicles, people and obstacles. Perhaps you drive the same route to work, to the grocery store and to your children's school, if you have any. You may feel at times as though you don't know how you got there. You learn to anticipate the intersections, so you may not see something different in time.

What risk factors can you avoid?

In order to increase your chances of avoiding an intersection crash, you could follow the simple steps below:

  • Keep searching surroundings.
  • Slow down approaching intersections.
  • Take a few extra seconds when the light turns green.
  • Telegraph your movements to other drivers.
  • Don't give in to distractions.
  • Make sure you have a way out.
  • Keep your distance from other vehicles.

You would be surprised how many people fail to follow these rules. Some get lucky and don't hurt themselves or anyone else. Sadly, others do end up involved in crashes because they fail to follow the rules. If you happen to be in that person's path at the time, you could suffer serious injuries that could keep you out of work, run up medical expenses and have other impacts on your life. You may have the opportunity to pursue the compensation you deserve through West Virginia's civil courts.

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