How Common are Car Accidents at Intersections?April 20, 2021
Busy intersections can have cars coming and going from four different directions, with some motorists driving straight through the intersection and others turning right or left. The busier the intersection, the greater the risk for an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 40 percent of car accidents in the United States occur at intersections, many of which could have been prevented if the motorists involved in the accident had been following the rules of the rules of the road and had their attention focused on the road and the other vehicles crossing the intersection. When a car accident is caused by the negligence of another driver, the injured victim may be eligible to collect financial compensation for his or her personal injury. In these situations, an experienced car accident lawyer can help.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that there are approximately 2.5 million intersection accidents in the United States each year, most of which involve left turn accidents. Approximately half of the serious car accidents occur at intersections and nearly 20 percent of the fatal accidents occur in intersection accidents. Motorists who run through red lights cause roughly 165,000 intersection accidents each year, up to 800 of which result in fatalities. Many local, state, and national safety organizations are taking steps to improve intersection safety by developing traffic control devices such as signals, signs, and markings that help direct traffic more safely and effectively. Other organizations such as the NHTSA, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and other public and private sectors are continuing to develop a range of resources that will improve intersection safety.
What are the Most Common Causes of Intersection Car Accidents?
The NHTSA found that intersection accidents most commonly occur when a vehicle is turning left, when a vehicle is crossing over at an intersection, or when a vehicle is turning right at an intersection. Oftentimes, these accidents are caused by some type of aggressive driving, such as a motorist who is in a rush and speeds through a red light, or a driver who fails to yield to the right of way and cuts off another motorist. The following are examples of aggressive driving behaviors that are common causes of intersection accidents:
- Tailgating of following too closely behind a vehicle
- Changing lanes erratically and without checking to see if other vehicles are in the vicinity
- Dangerous or aggressive passing and merging
- Sudden or erratic speed changes
- Failure to obey traffic lights or posted signs
- Speeding or racing with another motorist
- Making improper or dangerous turns
With any of the above driving behavior, when the motorist is speeding, it can result in a very serious accident involving severe injuries and fatalities. The faster the motorist is driving, the greater the transfer of force when the vehicles collide. Unfortunately, many of these devastating accidents could have been prevented and the resulting injuries avoided if the negligent motorist was following the rules of the road.
What Is a T-Bone Accident?
T-bone accidents, also known as side-impact collisions, are one of the most common types of accidents that occur at busy intersections. They occur when a motorist fails to yield to the driver who has the right of way, resulting in the vehicle crashing into the side of the other car. The following are some of the most common causes of T-bone accidents:
- Texting, talking on the phone, and other types of distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- False assumption of another driver’s action
- Misjudgment of another driver’s speed
- Turning with an obstructed view
- Sudden erratic speed changes
- Defective car parts, including bad brakes and a broken steering compartment
Other types of car accidents that can occur at intersections include the following:
- Rear-end accidents, which tend to occur when one motorist is following too closely behind another car, and the car being followed stops suddenly
- Head-on collisions, which can happen when a motorist attempts to make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic without enough time to safely complete the turn
- Pileups, which can happen at busy intersections when a collision sets off a chain reaction and multiple vehicles are involved in an accident
- Sideswipes, which occur when a motorist fails to check his or her blind spot for other motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians before turning
How Do I Prove Fault in an Intersection Accident?
Car accidents are an unfortunate reality, and they tend to happen when people least expect it. Even the safest, most responsible driver can be involved in a serious car accident if another motorist is driving recklessly, aggressively, or is simply failing to follow the rules of the road. When a negligent driver causes an accident at an intersection, proving fault will depend largely on the evidence that the injured party is able to collect. A dedicated car accident lawyer can assist the injured victim with this process, particularly if he or she is recovering from serious injuries. The following are examples of key pieces of evidence that will help determine fault, which will be very valuable toward reaching a successful settlement:
- Copy of the police report
- Footage from security cameras from local business, if available
- Photos of the accident scene
- Cell phone videos of the accident
- Witness statements
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Negligent driver’s cell phone records and social media records
- Vehicle black box records, if available
- Blood alcohol and drug test results
Although this evidence is going to be helpful in proving fault, it is also highly recommended that the injured party take photos of the accident scene, as well as the injuries and damage to their vehicle if they are physically able to do so. In addition, pictures of any debris in the road, skid marks on the street, and any other physical evidence that could help prove that the other driver was at fault will be extremely valuable.
What are Common Injuries in Intersection Accidents?
Motorists can suffer a range of injuries if they are involved in an intersection accident. T-bone accidents tend to cause injuries that are quite serious, particularly if the vehicle that hit the other car was traveling at a high speed. Head-on collisions also cause a high rate of fatalities. Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, motorists can suffer from the following injuries:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries, including whiplash
- Back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, including sprains and strains
- Pelvic, abdominal, and chest injuries
How can Motorists Avoid Accidents at Intersections?
Accidents at intersections often occur because a motorist was distracted, in a hurry, or was not paying attention to his or her surroundings. One of the first steps motorists should take to avoid an intersection accident is to recognize the fact that intersections are busy spots with cars coming and going in multiple directions. It is crucial that drivers use extra caution; pay close attention to the other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who may be sharing the road; and avoid common distractions. The following are safety tips that all motorists should keep in mind when navigating a busy intersection:
- Drivers need to slow down. When approaching an intersection, motorists are urged to reduce their speed, particularly if they are turning or if a traffic light has turned yellow. In addition to other cars, there may be pedestrians crossing the street as well, so it is very important to slow down and pay close attention to the surroundings.
- Motorists should leave plenty of space between their car and others in the vicinity. This will give drivers enough road space to slow down, change lanes, or avoid another vehicle that may have moved into his or her lane unexpectedly.
- Motorists should be aware of the most dangerous time to cross an intersection. Most accidents occur the first few seconds after the light changes. Motorists who attempt to beat a red light or who are not paying attention may cross through the intersection even after the light is red, which can cause a serious accident.
- Drivers should always use turn signals appropriately. This will alert other drivers that a motorist plans to turn or change lanes when approaching an intersection. Some busy intersections have multiple turn options, so it is important for drivers to let other motorists know when they are turning right, left, or going straight through the intersection. This is recommended, even if the driver has the right of way.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Justice for Victims of Intersection Accidents
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a car accident that occurred at a busy intersection, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will thoroughly investigate the details of your case, determine whether the other motorist was negligent in any way, and obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.