Driving around at high speeds can be dangerous, but it is often when you slow to a stop that your risk for a crash is at its highest. A significant number of collisions take place not on the open road but instead at intersections.
Approaching an intersection requires careful surveillance and a lower speed so that drivers can respond appropriately to the impending actions of others on the road. Unfortunately, despite the fact that people slow down or stop at intersections, crashes still occur every day at traffic lights and four-way stops.
What is the main reason for all of these wrecks at intersections?
Bad driving habits are a leading cause of intersection crashes
The number one cause of intersection collisions will probably surprise no one. Inadequate surveillance is the top cause of crashes at intersections and is responsible for 44.1% of all intersection collisions. In other words, almost half of intersection crashes are the result of people not checking the traffic around them carefully before proceeding through the intersection.
Other top mistakes that contribute to intersection crashes include internal distraction, inattention, external distraction, illegal maneuvers, misjudgment of speed or spacing, false assumptions about others’ actions and turning with an obstructed view.
Some of these people will make these mistakes because they daydream. Others will be on a phone call or arguing with a passenger in their vehicle. Some intersection crashes even occur because one driver makes a wrong assumption due to another driver not using their turn signal.
Understanding the risks can help you stay safer
While you don’t necessarily need to devote much of your energy to memorizing traffic statistics, learning about why crashes occur can still help you. You can make better decisions about your own habits when you understand what kinds of driving actions are most likely to contribute to a crash.
Coming to a rolling stop at an intersection, for example, is dangerous because it might relate to the top-identified cause of intersection collisions of not taking enough time to look around. Making better choices at the wheel can reduce your risk of being the one who causes a car crash, even if it can’t protect you from crashes caused by other people’s mistakes.