21 percent of car accident fatalities occur at intersections.
During rush hour, most of us find it frustrating to sit at a stop sign or red light, especially when you are in a hurry to get to work or reach home. Some drivers will neglect safety and instead roll through stop signs or rush to beat a yellow light to save a few seconds of time. Such drivers not only put their lives at risk, but also make intersections and roads dangerous for others. According to statistics, 21 percent of fatalities and over 50 percent of serious injuries occur at intersections.
Unfortunately, not everyone follows traffic signals. According to U.S. Department of Transportation estimates, only 10 percent of intersections have traffic lights and only 33 percent of intersection fatalities occur at intersections that have traffic signals. Every year, 165,000 people get injured in red light accidents. Half of the victims are red light runners themselves. Here is what you can do to stay safe and keep others safe at traffic lights:
- Yield to pedestrians: When you are turning left and the light is green, it does not mean it is safe to go. Look twice before proceeding – pedestrians have the right of way.
- Do not try to beat yellow lights: As long as you are not fully confident that you are within a reasonable distance, do not pass through an intersection on a yellow light.
- Watch out for red light runners: Even if you have the right of way, look before proceeding to make sure there is no one running a red light from the other direction.
Intersections with stop signs are more dangerous compared to those with traffic lights, even though they may not have as many cars. More traffic-related deaths occur at stop signs than at traffic lights. Here are some safety tips:
- Make eye contact with drivers: At four-way stops, some drivers are hesitant and others are overaggressive. There may be confusion about who arrived first. Making eye contact or any other form of non-verbal communication can clear up the confusion. This could help prevent stop sign accidents.
- Avoid rolling stops: This will not only save you from citations, but will also help you avoid the risk of not seeing an oncoming vehicle.
Uncontrolled intersections are the most dangerous intersections because there are no traffic signals and drivers must regulate themselves. These intersections are usually T-shaped, but some have four-way traffic stops as well. At these intersections, drivers turning right have the right of way.
- Slow down: When you approach an uncontrolled intersection, slow down.
- Stop and look before you turn: It may not be easy to see oncoming traffic when turning into a T-shaped intersection. Look twice even if there are no other cars coming.
- When in doubt, yield: If you are not sure about whether to go or stop, the best thing to do is yield.