Injured in a Crash At An Intersection? Here’s Why Those Accidents Are So Common
When we talk about auto accidents, images of cars rushing down highways at dangerously high speeds or a person getting behind the wheel after leaving a local bar often come to mind. What isn’t discussed as frequently are crashes that occur at intersections.
Intersection-related crashes occur more often than most people think. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that a whopping 36% of all reported accident cases occurred at intersections. In most of those cases, the ultimate cause of the crash was driver error.
Why Intersections are Dangerous
Intersections are particularly dangerous because they create many of the common conditions known to cause auto accidents. Usually, intersections have multiple entry points, high traffic and pedestrian volume, poor visibility due to other structures or weather, inadequate signage, and drivers aggressively rushing to their next destination. The most dangerous intersection in the Chicago area, where all of these factors are present, is Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue.
Sitting on the border between four Chicago neighborhoods: Avalon Park, Greater Grand Crossing, South Shore, and South Chicago, the Stony Island Avenue and South Chicago Avenue intersection is a mixing bowl of auto travel lanes, pedestrian crossing, and additional traffic from 79th Street. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, between 2009 and 2013, this 6-way intersection was the site of 444 auto crashes. And in 2018 and 2019, two bicyclists were killed in auto accidents there.
Top 5 Reason For Accidents At Intersections
Although visibility, aggressive driving, and inadequate signage contribute to the prevalence of accidents at intersections, those factors aren’t the main causes. According to NHTSA, the top 5 reasons for intersection-related crashes are:
• inadequate surveillance,
• false assumption of other’s action,
• turning with an obstructed view,
• illegal maneuvers, and
• internal distraction.
Inadequate surveillance occurs when a driver fails to observe their surroundings to complete a driving maneuver safely. At Chicago intersections like Stony Island and South Chicago Avenue, drivers must take care to surveil their surroundings from several angles before proceeding with any course of action.
Another cause of intersection-related accidents is false assumptions. In making decisions at multi-lane intersections, drivers often have to make assumptions about the speed and directional path of other vehicles and the time remaining on traffic signals to complete a driving maneuver safely. Sometimes drivers make the wrong call, and the result can be a major multi-car crash.
Turning With Obstructed View
61% of crashes that occur while turning or crossing an intersection involve left turns, while only 3.1% involve right turns. When drivers make left turns, particularly on a multi-lane roadway, their view of the oncoming vehicles may be obstructed. Additionally, left-hand turns demand more physical and mental effort from the driver. They have to make judgment calls about the speed of oncoming vehicles and be hyper-aware of traffic coming from three different directions.
Illegal maneuvers describe a broad category of driver actions, other than speeding, that violate the rules of the road. In Illinois, these rules include who has the right of way at an intersection, when a driver may pass another vehicle on the road, and lane usage.
Other passengers and mobile phones are the most prevalent sources of internal distractions. Internal distractions refer to things inside a driver’s car that momentarily keep them from paying attention to the road. Examples of internal distractions include eating, grooming, manipulating music/audio controls, tending to children, reading or writing, and talking with other passengers. At Chicago area intersection where people are often traversing to and from work, these types of distractions happen more often than people realize.
Injured in a Crash at an Intersection? We Can Help
If you were injured in a crash at an intersection, the experienced attorneys at the Cullotta Bravo Law Group are here to help. Our seasoned attorneys can help you identify the parties responsible for contributing to your auto accident and assist you in filing a claim for your injuries in or around the Chicago area. Contact or call us at 630-898-7800 to so that we can begin to review your matter with you.