If you recall taking driver’s education or learning to drive from a parent, there was probably a lot of time spent talking about what to do at an intersection. They’re a major place for car accidents to happen, so you learned the right-of-way rules and how to avoid an accident in one.
Yet over half of all injury accidents happen near intersections, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. What’s causing them, and how can you protect yourself from other drivers who break the rules? Our personal injury lawyers in Phoenix explain.
Driver Error Causes Most Crashes
When drivers make mistakes, crashes happen. The mistake doesn’t have to be one that breaks the law. Crashes can happen because inattentive drivers put cars into dangerous situations. This inattention and lack of care is one of the legal foundations for a negligence claim.
To win compensation after a car crash in Arizona, you have to prove that the other driver was negligent. Proving someone else committed a driving error is a key part of these claims, along with proving their negligence caused your crash and documenting the injuries you’ve suffered.
There are four kinds of accidents that are common when the intersection is involved. Let’s take a look at them and some 2021 statistics about them from the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Side impacts happen when a driver runs a red light and hits the side of your vehicle as you’re moving straight. These can also include angular impacts where the negligent driver hits the corners of your car. Around 15% of all accidents are of this variety in Arizona.
When you make a left turn, you’re exposed to cars in every other lane in the intersection. That’s why intersections use special lights to signal when a left turn is safe to perform. Around 17% of crashes at intersections in Arizona are caused by left-hand turns.
It’s illegal to change lanes in the middle of an intersection because of the risk of sideswipe accidents. Sideswipes happen when the sides of two cars meet because they got too close together. Any car drifting into the wrong lane can cause these. They make up another 17% of intersection accidents.
This is by far the biggest cause of intersection accidents, accounting for 40% of all crashes. When a driver stops at an intersection, the drivers behind them must also slow down in time to avoid a crash. Some people stop too quickly or don’t pay attention to someone stopping in front of them, causing a crash. These can also happen during lane changes inside intersections.
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Common Driving Errors in Arizona Intersection Crashes
Driver errors are the leading cause of intersection accidents in Arizona, but what are the common errors drivers commit? Here are a few of them and what you can do to protect yourself.
Speeding is the leading cause of crashes. The faster you go, the longer it takes for you to stop. Misjudge your speed or the stopping power of your brakes, and you won’t have the reaction time to stop an accident.
Many people who speed also follow the car in front of them too closely. The more space you leave, the more space you have to brake. Leave at least two seconds of time between you and the car if you can, especially at higher speeds.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal because it makes driving extremely dangerous. It’s not just bad for intersection accidents. It’s bad for all accidents. Never drive drunk or high.
You should also beware of some prescription drugs. Some of them will rob you of your ability to drive safely. Just because you have a prescription doesn’t mean they’re safe to drive while taking them. Your doctor or pharmacist will warn you if a drug may affect your ability to drive. Believe them!
A distracted driver can be just as dangerous as someone intoxicated. Distraction and intoxication do the same thing; drivers not paying attention in time to react to what’s happening around them. A driver can plow right through an intersection while distracted by their phone and cause a fatal accident.
What Should I Do If I’m in an Intersection Accident?
After any accident, the first thing is to call 911 to report it. Calling 911 will bring first responders to the scene to treat the injured, and it will bring the police so the drivers can make a report. Stay at the scene of the accident until they arrive.
If you’re able, take photos of the scene and your injuries while you wait. Also, exchange contact information and insurance information with all the other drivers. Do not blame anyone or yourself for the accident. Leave that to your lawyer to prove.
If you weren’t taken to the hospital, see a doctor as soon as you can afterward. You may have hidden injuries, and it will create a medical record of what you’ve suffered. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
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Contact Zanes Law for Legal Representation
After this, the next call to make is to Zanes Law. We can help you seek compensation for your intersection accident in Arizona. We will find out the cause of it and hold the other driver accountable for their actions. For more information and a free consultation, call or email us anytime.