Top Tips to Avoid Accidents at Intersections - Alvinology

Top Tips to Avoid Accidents at Intersections

Intersections may not seem like the most dangerous places. After all, they’re carefully controlled with lots of stop signs and red lights. Unfortunately, they’re deadlier than you might think, with statistics revealing that 40% of traffic accidents occur at intersections.

Knowing how to handle intersections is crucial for safe driving, and this guide will look at some essential tips to bear in mind.

Why Are Intersections So Dangerous?

So, what is it that makes intersections such prime spots for auto accidents, even though cars are usually driving quite slowly in these areas? Well, one of the main issues is that a lot of drivers try to bend the rules at intersections, or perhaps don’t quite know the rules in the first place. This leads to people turning when they shouldn’t or trying to cut across ahead of other road users.

This can be very dangerous, and it’s made worse by the fact that there’s usually so much going on at the average intersection. You have lights to keep an eye on, signs to follow, pedestrians to watch out for, and other cars going in all directions. It’s natural that, in such a situation, some drivers can feel overwhelmed or pressured, thereby becoming more likely to make a mistake.

Of course, there are also cases when drivers are simply not paying attention or choosing to be willfully reckless, speeding across an intersection or even driving under the influence. Naturally, that makes crashes much likelier to occur, and even the safest, most sensible drivers can become victims with so many risks around.

How to Prevent Intersection Collisions

Crash stats from the NHTSA show that a whopping 96% of all intersection accidents are caused by some sort of driver error. In other words, that means that a majority of these accidents are preventable, purely by drivers paying more attention and making smarter, safer decisions behind the wheels of their cars.

Minimize Any and All Distractions

Even though today’s cars have lots of fancy safety features and technologies to keep people safe, they’re also full of distractions. There are screens, GPS devices, in-car entertainment systems, and complicated music players.

Then, there are other distractions, like smartphones, chatty passengers, and grumpy children in the back seat. With so many things to bother you, it can be so hard to keep concentrated as a driver. But if you want to stay safe, you have to maintain your focus, avoiding any little gadgets that might take your eyes away from the road.

Know the Rules of Intersections

One of the main explanations for the high rate of intersection accidents is the fact that some drivers simply don’t know what they’re supposed to do. They’re unsure about how rights of way work, they don’t know how to deal with certain signs, like a yield sign, or they have forgotten crucial lessons they learned years ago in driving school.

It’s fair to say that rules of intersections can be quite complex. So, it’s understandable that drivers can be more than a little confused in these areas. But it’s easy enough to re-educate yourself on the subject. There are resources available online to teach you exactly what to do, coupled with road signs and markings that aim to guide you at each intersection.

Don’t Rush, Take Your Time

Many drivers are tempted to simply rush through an intersection. If the coast appears to be clear, it may seem logical to just drive straight over or make your turn as quick as possible. But that’s one of the worst things you can do. Rushing on the road rarely leads to anything good. The faster you go, the less time you’ll have to assess the situation and make the right call.

Yes, it’ll eat up a few seconds of your day to slow down, stop, and look around. But those seconds could be the difference between a safe journey and a serious crash. So, try not to make the mistake of rushing, and never feel pressured by other road users or cars behind you. If you don’t feel the way ahead is clear or safe, wait a while until it is. Be patient and proceed with caution, rather than rushing and hoping for the best.

Be Aware and Attentive

We’ve already spoken about the importance of avoiding distractions at intersections (and while driving in general), but it’s also important to be sharp and attentive to your surroundings. Don’t just keep your eyes on the road, keep your attention levels up, scan the scene ahead, look for oncoming vehicles, pedestrians who might be preparing to cross the street, and signs to guide you.

This is especially important if you happen to be driving at night, or in difficult weather conditions with low visibility. Let’s say it’s a dark and rainy evening, for example, you’ll need even more time and care when approaching an intersection to assess the situation, verify that the way ahead is clear, and watch for pedestrians or cyclists before moving on.

Keep Your Distance from Other Vehicles

Keeping your distance from other cars is always a smart driving tip. The more distance you have between your car and the one in front, the more time you’ll have to stop, slow down, or take evasive action if that car does something unexpected. Plus, having more space in front of you gives you a better view of the scene ahead, which is really handy at intersections.

If you’re approaching a point where two roads meet, be sure to let the car in front move ahead before following it. Don’t stick too close behind it, as it could stop suddenly, causing a rear-end collision. And don’t make the mistake of trying to tailgate another vehicle as it makes a turn, assuming that there’s enough time and space for both of you to pass, as there may not be.

Be Cautious and Careful at Every Intersection

The stats show that intersections are particularly dangerous places, requiring great care and patience to navigate safely. The next time you find yourself at a stop sign or set of lights, be sure to keep these tips in mind, staying alert and attentive to reduce the risks of any accidents. Not only will this help you stay safe, but it also helps to make intersections safer for everyone else, as well.

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