As someone who commutes on local surface streets, chances are good that you find intersections to be a frustrating part of your daily drive. After all, intersections typically require that you stop and yield the right-of-way, at least temporarily, to others in traffic. All of that stopping can drastically increase how long it takes to travel.
That very same factor that annoys so many is also the source of most of the risks that you have for a car crash at an intersection. Passing in close proximity to other vehicles and needing to communicate with other drivers can be a massive source of risk, especially if people aren’t paying as close of attention as they should.
The leading cause of intersection crashes is the failure to monitor adequately
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked at thousands of reports about individual crashes that took place at intersections. From there, they looked for trends and tried to establish what factors were most likely to contribute to a crash.
Unsurprisingly, inadequate observation or the failure to properly monitor surroundings was the single biggest risk factor. Improper monitoring contributes to roughly 44.1% of all intersection crashes. If you want to safely drive through busy intersections, paying close attention to other vehicles, as well as pedestrians, is usually a good first step.
Poor communication contributes to many other intersection crashes
Although state law and common sense mandate the use of turn signals or blinkers to let other drivers know what you plan to do, quite a few people still obstinately refuse to alert others to their intention prior to completing a turn.
Assuming that someone will go straight through an intersection because they don’t use a turn signal is one example of an inappropriate assumption about someone’s driving. According to the NHTSA, those assumptions cause another 8.4% crashes. Drivers turning with an obstructed view cause another 7.8% of crashes. Other common causes include illegal maneuvers, internal distraction and even failing to properly gauge someone’s speed or the angle of their approach.
Even if you take every necessary precaution, another driver could fail to notice you, decide not to use their turn signals or make an illegal turn. Any of those mistakes could cause a crash, and you may have to consider your right to compensation if you suffer injuries or property damage as a result.