Orlando’s intersections pose substantial risks for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Here vehicles maneuver in various directions and execute turns. There’s a reasonable expectation that drivers will notice and obey each traffic signal.
A crash may result if a motorist doesn’t follow the road rules or makes a driving error. Suppose you or someone you love was involved in a motor vehicle collision at an Orlando intersection. In that case, it’s imperative to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney for help.
Orlando’s Top Three Most Dangerous Intersections
Most drivers want to stay as safe as possible while behind the wheel. In addition to safe driving habits and obeying the rules of the road, it’s essential to be aware of the potentially dangerous intersections and streets around town. Increasing your awareness while navigating these riskier areas can help keep the roads safer.
The following intersections see the highest number of motor vehicle accidents in Orange County:
- State Highway 50/State Highway 436
- Sand Lake Road/John Young Parkway (Orlando)
- Goldenrod Road/University Boulevard (Winter Park)
When driving through one of these intersections, it’s crucial to use extra caution. Remaining vigilant in higher-risk areas can make a difference between staying safe or suffering injuries and property damage.
Anyone who suffers an injury accident in one of these intersections or one of Orlando’s many other intersections should talk to an experienced Orlando car accident attorney.
Common Causes of Traffic Accidents at Intersections
Intersection traffic accidents happen thousands of times every day in the U.S. The Federal Highway (FHA) Administration reports that 2.5 million intersection crashes happen across America annually. Forty percent of all traffic crashes happen at intersections, and over 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes happen at or near intersections.
Drivers disobeying traffic signals and failing to yield the right of way are the most common causes of Orlando intersection traffic accidents.
Other leading causes include:
- Running a red light
- Attempting to get through the intersection on a yellow light
- Unintentionally misjudging the traffic signal
Accidents happen due to intentional misconduct as well as simple negligence. While there are many causes, failing to obey a traffic signal or yield the right of way is by far the most common.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the number one cause of intersection accidents is a driver who doesn’t notice the traffic signal and runs the traffic light.
NHTSA reports that as many as 46 percent of intersection accidents occur because a driver accidentally disobeys a traffic signal. Another 18 percent of intersection accidents result from a driver proceeding through the intersection when the light is yellow, and 36 percent happen because a driver intentionally runs a red light.
The most common causes of these intersection accidents are as follows:
- Racing through a yellow light. A yellow light is an invitation to speed up, not to slow down for many motorists. When a motorist attempts to make it through a yellow light before it changes to red, they increase the risk of an intersection crash.
- Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light. If a driver doesn’t stop at a stop sign or red light, they will be in the direct path of oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, drivers traveling in the opposite direction often go too fast to prevent an accident in time. What results is often an intersection car crash with severe injuries.
- Failure to yield the right of way. Just because an intersection lacks stoplights or stop signs doesn’t mean there aren’t still rules about the right of way. Unfortunately, drivers may not follow right-of-way rules, they might make honest mistakes, or they may not communicate well. Whatever the reason, not yielding the right of way puts a motorist in an intersection while there will likely be oncoming traffic.
- Prohibited right turns. Right turns aren’t permissible at every intersection. When they are not allowed, they pose an unreasonable danger. Even still, some drivers try to turn right anyway, resulting in an accident.
- Attempting to turn right with traffic in the lane. In some intersections, a right turn is allowed at a red light. However, when turning right, the driver can’t obstruct traffic. Doing so can place multiple vehicles in the same lane simultaneously, significantly increasing the risk of an accident.
- Being rear-ended and pushed into traffic. Sometimes, if a vehicle is stopped at an intersection, the motorist behind them may rear-end them, possibly resulting in a chain reaction. The stopped vehicle is at risk of being pushed into the intersection, causing traffic driving in the other direction to crash into it.
- Not adjusting driving habits for weather or road conditions. Motorists must make adjustments when it’s raining or if other weather such as fog creates difficult driving conditions. If a driver doesn’t adjust for weather or road conditions, they may not pilot an intersection safely. For example, they may not see if it’s foggy, or they may hydroplane if there is a lot of water on the road.
- Defective equipment. Sometimes, driving errors aren’t responsible for an intersection crash. Instead, a vehicle may have faulty equipment that malfunctions and results in a collision. For example, the defective equipment might be a maintenance problem or a defect with the car itself.
- Obstructed views. Not all intersections have clear lines of vision. Trees, poles, construction work, and various other things can hinder a driver’s line of sight. Drivers might not see if vehicles are coming before moving into the intersection. Without seeing clearly, accidents are more likely to happen.
- Failing to survey the surrounding area. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings. They should scan the area in front of them so they can move through the intersection safely. If a driver doesn’t observe enough information, they may make a mistake that causes an intersection crash.
- Distracted driving is dangerous anywhere but especially at or near intersections. Motorists should dedicate all of their attention to the task of being behind the wheel. When a driver is paying attention to other things besides the road, they can’t pay attention to what is going on at the intersection-such as a red light or a bicyclist crossing the street, increasing the risk of something terrible happening.
- Misjudgment. Even the best motorists can sometimes misread a situation. Perhaps they think they have enough time to make it through a yellow light when they don’t. Or they might think they have time to turn right when there’s an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately, these misjudgments can lead to severe accidents, and it’s always best for drivers to err on the side of caution.
Why Do Intersection Accidents Happen?
Simply put, intersection accidents occur because drivers make significant driving errors while near other vehicles. Intersections allow multiple drivers to travel in different directions.
Other drivers are typically around if one driver disobeys a traffic law or makes a driving mistake. However, those drivers may not react in time to avoid an accident. For some drivers, intersections, especially large or busy ones, can be overwhelming, with vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians going in many different directions. Being overwhelmed can make them riskier drivers.
Who Is at Fault When an Intersection Accident Occurs?
Generally, the driver at fault for an intersection accident is the one who fails to obey traffic laws. For example, if a driver enters the intersection when a light is red or yellow or runs a stop sign, they are the at-fault party for the intersection accident because they broke the law by not stopping when they should have. Even going through a yellow light when the driver should have stopped can be enough to be at fault for an intersection accident.
However, there may be other parties at fault. If a traffic light isn’t maintained and malfunctions, it can cause an accident. In that case, you might hold the government agency charged with maintaining the light liable for the damages in an accident. If a delivery truck driver hits you in an intersection, their employer or the truck’s cargo loader can also be liable. Sometimes you can hold these parties liable instead of other drivers, and sometimes, in addition to other drivers.
No matter who you might blame for your accident, it’s imperative to have an experienced Orlando car accident attorney on your side. Your attorney can thoroughly investigate what happened to cause the accident, which will indicate who is at fault. They can also research all available sources of compensation-such as the various insurance policies that might apply, to maximize your financial recovery.
The Elements of Negligence
Negligence or someone or some party not acting in a manner that a reasonable person or party would cause most car accidents.
To be successful in an intersection accident claim, your attorney must prove:
- Duty: Another party owed you a duty of care. For example, other drivers owe you a duty to stop at a red light.
- Breach of duty: The other party failed to uphold their duty of care. Maybe they failed to yield to you as a part of oncoming traffic, or perhaps they turned on red illegally.
- Causation: The other party’s breach of duty was the direct cause of your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered damages, such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income because of your injuries.
Common Intersection Accident Injuries
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), about two million Americans sustain injuries in motor vehicle collisions across the country every year.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that Americans spend more than a million days in the hospital from motor vehicle collision-related injuries annually. Car accident injuries amount to around $18 billion in lifetime medical costs. Out of these, victims incur over 75 percent of their expenses in the first 18 months after the accident.
Intersection car accident injuries account for many of these injuries, hospital stays, and bills.
Usually, injuries from getting hit by a car fall into two categories:
- Impact injuries: Occur when an individual’s body strikes part of the vehicle, such as hitting a safety restraint such as a seatbelt or airbag or any structure of the car such as its steering wheel, windshield, or dashboard. They can also happen if a driver’s or passenger’s body hits something outside of the vehicle, such as the road, a pole, or a tree.
- Penetrating injuries: Result from objects that penetrate a victim’s body, such as shattered glass or any loose objects from a truck’s cargo.
The most common intersection car accident injuries include:
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries, concussions, scrapes, and bruises
- Back and neck injuries such as spinal cord injuries (SCI), slipped discs, muscle sprains, and whiplash
- Internal injuries including organ damage and severe bleeding
- Broken bones, which can be as minor as a broken finger or toe or as complex as a shattered femur or pelvis
- Burns can be severely painful and disfiguring and may require skin grafting to heal correctly
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-even without noticeable physical injuries, this can also haunt accident victims for years to come with anxiety, depression, and nightmares
Whatever your injuries might be or how minor they might seem at the time, see a doctor as soon as possible after your intersection accident.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
If a car accident injured you in an intersection, speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled car accident lawyer understands the challenges injured parties face after an accident. They can help you get your life back together after such a traumatic event.
Call a car accident lawyer near you for your confidential, no-obligation case review today.