Intersections are necessary for getting around but they can be dangerous places for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. Countless accidents happen as people try to navigate them, which is almost expected when their structure is considered.
Even when some drivers act responsibly, other drivers fail to do so at times, and then an intersection accident will happen. Car accidents both at and away from intersections are often avoidable. Unfortunately, intentional and unintentional driver error continue to create the perfect storm for disaster.
The idea of the information below is to offer simple driving safety tips when navigating intersections that can help to prevent costly vehicle damage and serious bodily injury.
Bear in mind, however, that even in practicing these actionable insights, other drivers may not be so courteous as they cross traffic signals. If this is the case and such a driver causes an accident in Des Moines, reach out to Tom Fowler Law at (515) 203-8434 for a free consultation with an expert car accident attorney.
Reasons You May End Up in an Accident with Vehicular, Pedestrian, or Bicycle Traffic at the Intersection
There's no single cause of intersection accidents. If there were, it would likely be much easier to prevent them from rising to the level of prevalence they have. It's one of the reasons drivers find it so hard to avoid intersection crashes as they go about their business.
While this list is not exhaustive, these are some of the main reasons the collisions happen:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Failing to yield the right of way where applicable
Dangerous lane changes
Following too closely behind other drivers
In a bid to avoid intersection accidents, it becomes necessary not only to steer clear of being the reason for any of the above, but also to prepare reasonably for other drivers who may be engaging in such behaviors.
What Are the Best Ways to Avoid Intersection Crashes?
Naturally, everyone would want to avoid intersection accidents as much as possible and it is everyone's responsibility on the road to do so. The following are key driving behavior tips that, once put into practice, should reduce the likelihood of intersection crashes.
The act of enjoying alcohol itself is not a problem when done responsibly. However, there is a major issue when someone chooses to consume alcohol and drive thereafter. Even as someone who has an understanding of their limits, it's always best not to drink in the first place as the designated driver.
One need not be completely drunk to begin to have perception, balance, and other challenges on the road when driving. Drifting into oncoming traffic, running a red light, and failing to use turn signals appropriately are just a few of the issues that can crop up, which can lead to a devastating car accident.
Obey Every Stop Sign and Traffic Signal
Intersections are the meeting points of traffic headed in several different directions. The idea of mechanisms such as a stop sign or a traffic signal are to allow drivers to proceed from all directions in turn carefully.
This, of course, will happen so long as everyone obeys the laws of the road. For example, always wait until a red light turns green before proceeding through it. Similarly, avoid speeding to get through a yellow light as misjudgments are likely, which cause people to cross traffic at inopportune times.
Be Wary of Bad Road Conditions
Sometimes, drivers do all they can to ensure that they avoid intersection accidents, but the road conditions are simply not favorable, which means that the crashes end up happening anyways.
As a driver, it's essential to remain cognizant of the conditions that are present. Doing so allows for appropriate adjustments to be made, which could be in the form of slower driving, exploring other route options, etc.
Whenever possible, it's always better not to deal with bad road conditions at all. For example, if there is no urgent need to get somewhere and there's heavy rain, consider waiting for things to clear up a bit.
Other General Tips to Keep in Mind
As someone trying to avoid intersection accidents, the tips above should go a far way in helping you reach that goal. Here are a couple more things to bear in mind to help:
Unknown hazards can appear at any time, so always proceed into the intersection slowly.
Do not change lanes as you pass through the intersection.
Even if the light turns green, be sure to check both sides to ensure the roadway is clear before proceeding.
Since the road is shared with pedestrian or bicycle traffic, exercise extra awareness and look out for both.
Make a complete stop at traffic signals.
Drive as if there is a crosswalk on the corner of all intersections.
Do not immediately turn the wheels left when making a left turn, so if struck, the car isn't pushed into oncoming traffic.
Signal turns well in advance of reaching the intersection.
Even when proceeding through the intersection, continue to scan to ensure that any new hazards can be responded to effectively.
Remain extra alert when driving through intersections in residential areas, considering children may be present at all times.
If an intersection is uncontrolled, allow for extra time to have the rear of your vehicle clear it when you pass through.
Again, this is only a series of the most important considerations for drivers. Be sure to exercise any other precautions that may be applicable to guarantee safe passage through the intersection.
What Do You Do When Hit By Same-side or Oncoming Traffic at the Intersection?
As indicated before, even when being as safe as possible, rear-end collisions can happen. Vehicles may even collide head-on with no prior indication. It's very difficult to completely avoid accidents even as a safe driver because other drivers often don't have the same kind of approach.
Here's a quick look at a few essential steps to take when other parties cause intersection crashes.
Medical attention is one of the key priorities whenever an intersection accident or any other kind of car accident occurs. The less extensive the damage, the better, and the best chance of minimizing the worst outcome for injuries is getting taken care of by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Seek assistance for other drivers, pedestrians, and anyone else who may have been involved too.
As a party hoping to be compensated for damages suffered during a car accident, having the right evidence to support a claim is all but non-negotiable. This will include helpful pictures and video evidence, as well as contact details of other drivers, passengers, and witnesses at the scene.
Capturing the position of the vehicles, injuries, damage, and vehicular documents is incredibly important in these kinds of scenarios.
Whenever an accident happens, a police officer should be called to the scene to manage the situation and take statements from the drivers involved. If this did not happen, it's a good idea to head to the local police station and make a report as soon as possible.
Failure to do so can almost singlehandedly kill whatever chances there were of being compensated for the matter.
Call Your Des Moines Car Accident Attorney
The legal battle that will come after the accident to recover compensation cannot be fought without an expert present, and this is none other than Des Moines vehicle accident attorneys.
Coming out of the situation on the favorable end means building a case that is effective and sufficient in demonstrating that the damages incurred are a direct result of the accident and exactly who is at fault.
However, this can only be done well if the right series of steps are followed up to the time of the settlement. An expert lawyer can help to ensure that these are taken.
What Types of Damages Are You Eligible for
Damage eligibility will be based on the parameters of the accident and the extent to which there are damages and effects thereafter. Nevertheless, here is a look at the typical damages that will crop up in these kinds of situations:
Economic damages - As the name implies, there is usually a dollar value attributable to these damages thanks to records such as receipts. These will include medical bills, lost wages, vehicular damage expenses, etc.
Non-economic damages - Attorneys are key in recovering these since there is no straightforward number that can be used to calculate what is owed. The damages here are based on quality of life and include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of companionship, etc.
Tom Fowler Law Is Here to Fight for You!
The first line of defense is always driving safely and the tips above are meant to ensure it. Waiting until the light changes to green, paying attention to pedestrians and motorcyclists, etc., are great ways to avoid intersection accidents, and especially avoiding multiple car accidents.
Nevertheless, accidents may still happen and you may need assistance to claim compensation for the negligence of other drivers. Schedule a free consultation today with a compassionate and competent Des Moines attorney by calling Tom Fowler Law at (515) 203-8434!