Risk management involves learning about what puts you in danger and adjusting your behavior accordingly. Some small changes in your driving habits, for example, could help you significantly reduce your risk of getting into a crash.
Avoiding highways is a common strategy for people who want to stay safe while driving. It is certainly true that the higher speed limits on highways contribute to more catastrophic collisions when crashes occur. Highways are also more likely to be the scene of multiple-vehicle pile-ups.
Still, surface roads are not without their own dangers. A large number of crashes occur on surface roads every year, many of them at intersections. Any place where two roads or lanes of traffic cross one another is a place where drivers have significantly higher risks for a crash. Knowing the number one cause of intersection crashes can help you potentially avoid a collision that hurts you or one of your passengers.
Complacency and distraction can both contribute to the top cause of intersection crashes
Drivers who feel very comfortable in their route because they travel the same path every day, as well as drivers not fully focused on the road can easily miss details about their environment. Drivers are often more comfortable and therefore more prone to making mistakes on surface streets, especially those very close to their home or place of employment.
As you can probably guess, the biggest issue leading to intersection crashes is drivers who don’t pay attention. What might surprise you is how many crashes they cause. According to crash data analyzed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, roughly 44% of intersection crashes are the result of inadequate surveillance. Misjudging another driver’s upcoming actions caused another 8.4% of these crashes.
How can you accommodate someone else’s lack of attention?
Knowing that someone not paying attention is what will most likely cause a crash at an intersection gives you an opportunity to reduce your personal risk. Taking an extra pause at intersections to verify what other drivers are about to do could help you avoid getting T-boned by someone who doesn’t stop, for example.
Sadly, no matter how safe you are, other people still cause plenty of risk on the road. If you do wind up hurt by a negligent or inattentive driver, you may be able to get compensation through an insurance claim or a lawsuit for your injuries.