Crashes can occur anywhere on the road, as drivers may become distracted or lose control of their vehicles at any point. However, a significant number of collisions occur at or near intersections.
Any place that vehicles have to pass in close proximity or where drivers have to communicate with one another, there is an increased risk of a serious collision. Of course, you can’t just avoid intersections altogether, but you can make better decisions when you approach them.
The way that you behave at an intersection could add to or reduce your overall risk of a wreck. Two behaviors, in particular, will drastically increase your risk of getting into a crash.
Turning left with other traffic present
Left-hand turns take longer to conduct and involve crossing more lanes of traffic than right-hand turns. They can also lead to some of the worst car crashes. A left-hand turn might cause a T-bone accident or even a head-on collision, either of which could cause catastrophic vehicle damage and serious injury to the occupants of the vehicles involved.
At least when it comes to collisions at intersections, the correlation between a left turn and crash risk is clear. Roughly 22% of all intersection collisions involve a left-hand turn. In other words, one in five crashes that occur at an intersection will involve at least one driver turning left immediately prior to the wreck.
The risk goes up when the driver making the turn or someone else stopped at the same intersection fails to use their turn signals to communicate their intentions to other drivers.
Gliding through the intersection without checking carefully
The same study that noted the association of left-hand turns with intersection collisions also found that 44.1% percent of those crashes involve drivers who admitted to inadequate surveillance prior to the wreck. Simply put, they didn’t look carefully enough before proceeding through the intersection.
Failing to monitor your surroundings at an intersection is a recipe for disaster. Especially during morning and evening hours when day turns into night and vice-versa, the risk of not spotting someone with a brief glance is higher. Knowing how your driving behaviors contribute to your crash risk can help you stay safer out on the roads and can help you handle the fallout of a left-hand turn collision.