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What is the leading cause of crashes at intersections?

Surface roads are where many collisions take place every day, even though many people assume that highways are more dangerous than roads with slower speed limits. Particularly at places where traffic moving in different directions must interact with one another, such as intersections, the risk for mistakes resulting in collisions is higher than in places where all the traffic moves in the same direction.

Risk management or harm reduction can help you stay safer when doing something inherently risky, like traveling in a motor vehicle. There is no feasible way for you to simply avoid intersections when driving, so the next best option might be to avoid the worst risk factors while at an intersection. What are the major contributing factors to intersection collisions?

Many crashes happen due to a lack of proper monitoring

As you might be able to guess if you’ve ever had another driver take a turn before they should have at a four-way stop, people don’t give intersections the respect they deserve. When collisions occur at an intersection, 44.1% of the time, the cause is inadequate surveillance by at least one of the drivers involved. Simply put, the driver who causes the crash didn’t look carefully before continuing.

The second most significant contributing factor to intersection collisions is a driver falsely assuming what someone else is about to do. In other words, drivers being too aggressive and failing to watch for the actions of others is what leads to over half of the crashes that occur at intersections.

There are other factors that play a role as well, such as illegal maneuvers, obstructed views and even distraction, but misjudging other people and failing to monitor the environment are the most serious issues.

Keep yourself safe by keeping your eyes peeled

Defensive driving involves being proactive in your approach to safety. Not only should you assume that other drivers won’t make the best decision, but you should make conscious and sometimes slightly delayed driving maneuvers to reflect the dangers other vehicles pose to you.

Pausing an extra second or two to double-check at every intersection can help prevent you from causing a crash. It can also give you an opportunity to spot an irresponsible driver making a bad choice before they crash into you.