Given the higher speed limits and the higher density of vehicles during busy traffic times, it’s little surprise that many people think of the highway as far more dangerous than surface streets. However, people who have a false sense of security while driving on municipal roads may feel shocked to learn that intersection-related crashes actually account for roughly two out of every five traffic collisions according to an analysis of data by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
In other words, while a significant number of crashes do occur on highways, interstates and freeways, nearly as many crashes take place on roads with lower speed limits, specifically at places where two or more streets cross with one another. More than half of the crashes that occur at intersections are the direct result of human mistakes while driving.
People at intersections aren’t always paying attention
Intersections are highly dangerous because they mark a place where you will cross paths with other vehicles. However, people tend to treat them as a stopping point in their travels, rather than a moment of heightened risk for a potential collision.
Quite a few people will use the moments when they slow down while approaching or when stopped at an intersection to read the text message or email that came in while they were driving. Others will focus more on the next step of their trip rather than the immediate needs of safely passing through the intersection.
Distraction and failing to pay attention at intersections are dangerous
Almost half of all crashes that take place while vehicles move through intersections result from inadequate surveillance. Roughly 44.1% of collisions at intersections directly result from one driver failing to really look around, while another 8.4% result from making the wrong assumption about how someone else will maneuver. People make those mistakes due to a lack of turn signal use or failing to notice someone’s signal.
When drivers don’t pay adequate attention and make questionable decisions at the wheel, other people can wind up hurt or dealing with serious property damage. Understanding that intersections pose a risk can help you take steps to keep yourself safer and inspire you to be more proactive about protecting yourself in the aftermath of a crash if you do experience one.