When you have been a licensed driver for years, it’s easy to forget something you probably learned when you first learned to drive: Intersections often are dangerous places. In fact, 50% of auto accidents with injuries or deaths occur at or near intersections, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Since drivers can’t avoid traveling through intersections, they need to know how to navigate them safely.
Here are five tips to avoid an accident at an intersection:
1. Pay attention to your surroundings. You need to look in every direction as you approach an intersection. Be aware that a tree, building or other cars could block your view. You want to look for traffic signals, signs, approaching vehicles and especially pedestrians. In 2019, 26% of pedestrian accident deaths occurred at intersections.
2. Be prepared to stop. You shouldn’t speed through intersections. You need to be prepared to stop your vehicle if you notice a pedestrian quickly entering the intersection or a vehicle that isn’t stopping or making an illegal turn.
3. Carefully enter an intersection after you have stopped. You might not realize that one of the biggest dangers at an intersection is after you’ve stopped for a red light or stop sign. You need to slowly enter an intersection when a light turns green or after stopping at a stop sign. Another vehicle may not be out of the intersection yet or may speed through a stop sign or traffic signal.
4. Maintain extra space between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Rear-end accidents are common near intersections, so you want to ensure you have enough space to stop quickly if you need to.
5. Use your turn signals. You want drivers around you to know where you are headed at an intersection. Make sure to use your turn signal if you are turning left, right or switching lanes as you approach an intersection.
By following these tips, you can get through intersections without being involved in a car accident and help ensure you and other drivers on the road reach your end destination safely.