Most drivers are aware of the typical hazards that can make operating a motor vehicle in Virginia and elsewhere especially dangerous. That includes situations caused by ice, fog, heavy rain and road construction. There are drivers who are under the influence, distracted drivers, drivers who are speeding and drivers who are overly aggressive. But there is another potential problem that most drivers encounter daily and probably never think twice about – intersections.
Intersections can be tricky at best and downright hazardous at worst, not just for the person behind the wheel, but for pedestrians and bicyclists. Incredibly, something that most drivers deal with every day can be very dangerous. In fact, “[I]ntersection crashes account for about 50% of crashes according to the Federal Highway Administration.” Even more concerning is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s finding that almost all intersection collisions “involve driver error or inattention.”
Why are intersections so problematic?
Actually, it’s not really the intersection itself, it’s the drivers who fail to negotiate them properly. Some of the reasons that intersections pose such difficulty are the following:
- Drivers who may travel the same route often and don’t pay enough attention at intersections
- Making the often incorrect assumption that other drivers will obey the rules of the road at intersections
- Turning without a clear view
- Maneuvering in a way that is illegal
- Being distracted
- Incorrectly estimating the speed of other drivers
How to drive safely through intersections
Fortunately, there are some tips for negotiating intersections safely. Although you cannot control the actions of other drivers, you certainly can do everything possible to travel through intersections without incident.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Lower your speed. If something unexpected happens, that makes it more likely you will be able to respond to it in time.
- Leave 15 feet of space between your vehicle and the vehicle directly in front of you.
- When the light turns green, wait a moment to allow cross traffic to pass.
Be careful at intersections all the time. If you are injured by another driver at an intersection, you may have some legal options.