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What Factors Make Some Intersections Particularly Dangerous?

Intersections are dangerous. These are the places on the roadway where traffic converges all at once, coming from all different directions. Some drivers want to go straight, and some want to make turns. Sometimes, drivers have to cross lanes of oncoming traffic to get to their destination. Regardless of the circumstances, some intersections are particularly dangerous, and our Houston personal injury attorney wanted to discuss why that is the case.

The Safety Issues At Intersections

According to information available from the Federal Highway Administration, a department with the US DOT, more than 50% of all “fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.” 

Even though this may seem like an astounding figure, the reality is that it should not be surprising. Intersections are where many different types of vehicles (trucks, motorcycles, buses, passenger cars) and people come together, typically all trying to accomplish different goals. Safely navigating an intersection is one of the most complicated activities that any driver will go through when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.

  • Stopping at lights or signs. Nearly every intersection will have some traffic light or sign to indicate who is supposed to stop or slow down. Unfortunately, there are individuals who ignore these signs to stop or slow down or otherwise do not see them. Anytime a person runs through an intersection without stopping or slowing down, as indicated by signage, there is a significant risk of T-bone or head-on collisions. 
  • Left turns. Left-hand turns are one of the most dangerous aspects of driving simply because this typically means drivers will be crossing a lane or multiple lanes of oncoming traffic. Drivers wishing to make a left-hand turn must adequately judge the situation and determine whether or not they have enough space to make the turn safely. If these turns are timed incorrectly, a T-bone collision is likely.
  • Traffic volume. Intersections are where traffic volume tends to increase, typically because these are where traffic will bottleneck at one location. Going by sheer numbers alone, more traffic means more accidents are likely to occur.
  • Turn lanes. In many cases, intersections lack adequate turning lanes. In order to cut down on the number of accidents, crowded intersections should have adequately marked turn lanes that are accompanied by lights and clear signage to indicate traffic direction for all motorists.
  • Signage. If an intersection lacks adequate signage, drivers may not know exactly what they are supposed to do at the intersection. When there are no signs, a driver may not know where the turn lane is or which direction they need to go to get to their destination, leading to confusion.
  • Visibility. Anytime visibility is obscured at an intersection, this increases the danger. Visibility could be obscured as a result of temporary issues such as weather, foliage, or poor lighting, but it could also be obscured as a result of permanent structures such as an elevated hill, an overpass, or some other structure.
  • Other factors. There are other factors that make driving dangerous in general that increase the hazards at intersections. This includes distracted driving, impaired driving, fatigue driving, etc. Basically, any action that a driver may take that leads to unsafe driving practices compounds at intersections.

If you or a loved one are involved in a collision, speak to a car accident lawyer in Houston as soon as possible. They can help you assess your legal options and fight for fair compensation in your case.

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