Traffic Accidents and Road Intersections are a Natural Combination
Intersections are dangerous places on America’s roadways. Roughly 40 percent of all traffic accidents in the U.S. each year take place at intersections, and more than 20 percent of all traffic fatalities likewise occur as a result of traffic accidents at intersections. No two ways about it, intersections are dangerous places. If you are injured in a traffic accident that occurs at an interaction, you need to consult with a Miami car accident attorney who deals in intersection accidents.
What Makes Miami Intersections So Dangerous?
A significant number of accidents at intersections are two-vehicle accidents, as opposed to single vehicle accidents . From 1997 through 2004, federal statistics tallied about 800 fatalities each year in accidents at intersections that involved only two vehicles. In those accidents, one of the drivers ran a red light. Roughly another 1,300 fatalities each year during the same time period were two-vehicle accidents that were the result of one of the drivers running a stop sign.
Intersections are dangerous places. Why? Anytime vehicles are traveling at right angles to one another on roads that cross, with one vehicle traveling along a road and a second vehicle driving on a road that crosses the first vehicle’s road, there is by definition a heightened risk of an accident. The two vehicles are traveling toward the same point from different directions. In the U.S., traffic at most intersections is governed by traffic lights or stop signs. Those traffic controls only work if drivers see and obey traffic signals.
Unfortunately, drivers run red lights, either hoping to make it through a yellow before it turns to red or they’re distracted and driving or ignoring the red light and driving right through. By the same token, drivers sometimes don’t see a stop sign and drive straight through without slowing down, or they roll through, slowing down but not stopping. Often, they do so without checking for cross traffic that they should have stopped for.
The cost for this kind of behavior is high. Drivers who are obeying the law and drive through an intersection on the green light or who don’t have a stop sign can pay a high price under such circumstances. If a driver is passing through an intersection at speed because he or she has the right of way, another driver illegally coming in from the side, either running a red light or a stop sign, can create a devastating side impact or head on collision. Often, these collisions are fatal, and certainly, the injuries they cause can be severe.
Intersection Accidents in Miami Are Deadly
From 1997 through 2004, intersection accidents resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths every year at intersections with traffic lights, making up approximately 30 percent of all traffic accident deaths occurring at intersections. Nearly 40 percent of intersection fatalities, averaging more than 3,600 traffic deaths every year, happened at intersections that were governed by stop signs. Almost 2,600 deaths, constituting nearly 30 percent of total traffic deaths, occurred at intersections that had no traffic signals or stop signs.
Overall, the federal government reports that approximately 40 percent of the nearly 6 million traffic accidents in 2008 happened at intersections. More than 95 percent of those accidents were blamed on driver error. While that percentage roughly approximates the percentage of non-intersection accidents caused by driver error, the types of driver errors cited by authorities in intersection-related crashes versus accidents that do not occur at intersections differ sharply.
For intersection-related crashes resulting from driver error, failure to pay adequate attention causes nearly 45 percent of accidents. Meanwhile, for accidents that do not occur at intersections but are related to driver error, the driver errors are entirely different. Almost a fourth of such accidents resulted from driving too fast for conditions or aggressive driving. What amounts to bad driving — performance errors or poor direction control — cause more than 15 percent of accidents not involving intersections.
Age appears to be a risk factor for intersection-related accidents, with drivers over the age of 65 accounting for more than 30 percent of all fatal accidents at intersections. That number contrasts to 13 percent of all fatal accidents involving older drivers at places other than intersections. The majority of intersection accidents involving older drivers happened when the older driver was turning left, failed to yield the right of way, and was struck by oncoming traffic.
You Have to Take Steps to Protect Yourself from Intersection Accidents
Given the likelihood that fault in an intersection accident rests squarely on one driver not paying attention, it would seem that you bear a double burden in avoiding traffic accidents at intersections. First, don’t be the driver who isn’t paying attention and runs a light or a stop sign. Second, look out for the guy who does, even if you’re just crossing an intersection as a pedestrian. You have to assume that other drivers will run red lights and stop signs, or that they will turn left without sufficient space or time to do so safely. Fair or not, you are responsible for keeping yourself safe. You have to be vigilant. This can include:
- Watching for traffic on crossing roads when approaching an intersection with the right of way and being aware the other driver might not stop. When the other driver blowing through the intersection is the top cause of intersection accidents, trust kills.
- If you are turning at an intersection, stay in your lane. Side-swipe accidents rank with rear-end collisions among the most common intersection accidents.
If you don’t take intersection safety into your own hands, your chance of an intersection accident goes up. If you are nonetheless involved in an intersection accident, seek the assistance of a car accident lawyer in Miami to determine if you are entitled to compensation.
If You Have Been Injured in an Intersection Traffic Accident, Contact a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a traffic accident at an intersection in the Miami area, you should talk to a Miami personal injury attorney. You could have options to recover damages for your injuries. Contact Flagler Personal Injury Group at (305) 424-8445 or through our online contact form. Flagler Personal Injury Group serves the greater Miami area.