Why do so many collisions happen at intersections?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Modern roads are very busy, and people often think of the roads with the highest speed limits as the most dangerous places to drive. However, places where people stop, slow down and turn also experience quite a few crashes. Traffic density is certainly one safety concern at busy intersections that tends to contribute to high crash rates at these locations.

Upon an initial inspection, the high volume of traffic moving through an intersection often has a direct correlation to the likelihood of a crash occurring. However, if all motorists followed traffic rules and made intentional efforts to safely share the roads with each other, the number of car wrecks that occur at intersections would very likely drop. What causes most intersection collisions, according to crash statistics?

Left-hand turns

When looking at what a driver attempts to do before a crash happens, a left-hand turn is the maneuver most strongly associated with a collision at an intersection. Roughly three-fifths of intersections collisions involve at least one vehicle attempting to turn left. After all, turning left creates the most exposure to oncoming traffic and will typically mean that someone has to cross paths with every other lane that uses the same intersection. Left-hand turns tend to be a bit slower, which means that other drivers may misjudge when the intersection will be clear. The degree of risk is so significant that many delivery companies plan routes in a way to minimize left-hand turns and more municipalities every year make new traffic plans with the intention of minimizing left turns at the busiest intersections.

Improper surveillance

When it comes to the mistake a driver makes that causes a crash, inadequate traffic monitoring is the top issue contributing to intersection wrecks. Making the wrong assumption about what others will do in traffic is another safety concern. After all, not everyone consistently uses their turn signals when approaching an intersection, which means that others in traffic may not know what to expect from them.

Those who understand why crashes often take place at major intersections may have an easier time avoiding a crash themselves, which is why learning about collision statistics can be useful for drivers who want safety to be their top priority.