There are many reasons as to why accidents can occur at intersections. These types of crashes remain a serious traffic safety issue as the resulting injuries are often serious in nature. Some of these injuries are life-threatening and in some cases such injuries lead to a fatality.
Many types of road users can be involved in such crashes. In addition to those in passenger vehicles and trucks, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians are often impacted.
Reasons For Intersection Accidents
Intersection accidents can happen for many reasons. Among those reasons are the following:
When a driver runs a red light
When a motorist disregards a traffic control device such as a stop light, everyone at the intersection can be put in jeopardy. Red light running is particularly concerning as recently the number of deaths caused by red light running has reached an all-time high. Another aspect of crashes that result after a driver runs a red light is that the driver often is driving at a higher speed in order to quickly get through the intersection. Such higher speeds often lead to more forceful and physically traumatic collisions.
When a driver runs into the vehicle in front of it
Many accidents that involve a vehicle getting "rear-ended," i.e. a driver runs into a stopped or slowing vehicle ahead.
There are many reasons as to why a vehicle may run into a vehicle in front of it. The driver may be distracted, and as such doesn't apply the brakes appropriately. Alternately, a driver may be driving too quickly to stop in time to prevent hitting the vehicle ahead.
Regardless of the reason, there are various injuries that can result if some vehicle hits your stopped or slowing vehicle. These injuries range in both type and severity. One common injury is the "whiplash."
Accidents Involving Turning Vehicles
There are numerous types of accidents that occur when vehicles are turning. One common accident involves a vehicle turning left or right, and the driver fails to yield to oncoming traffic, resulting in a collision. Such failure to yield accidents can lead to serious collisions.
Turning vehicles can often present a safety threat to bicyclists. There are two bicycle accident types that can occur at intersections. These are often referred to as "left cross" and "right hook" crashes. During a "left cross" crash, a bicyclist is traveling straight and is hit by a car in opposing traffic that is attempting to make a left-hand turn. Often, this type of accident occurs because the driver fails to see the bicycle rider. In the "right hook" collision, a vehicle attempting to make a right-hand turn hits a bicycle that is behind it or next to it to the right. Often, this type of accident occurs because the driver fails to see the bicyclist, or misjudges the distance between the vehicle and the bicycle.
Intersections often have crosswalks. These crosswalks are intended to enhance the safety of people walking across the street.
However, despite these crosswalks being designed to provide a "safe passage" for pedestrians, accidents occur. There have been many Chicago area pedestrian accidents that have occurred when a vehicle hits a person or people who are lawfully walking across the street in a crosswalk. Many of these accidents have led to people being seriously injured, and some crosswalk accidents have led to fatalities.
Intersections that have experienced a large number of accidents are often referred to as "dangerous intersections." There are many such areas in the Chicago area which are considered to be unsafe. While, after experiencing many accidents, these intersections may undergo intersection improvements, even if such improvements are made they can take years to implement.
There are various reasons as to why some intersections experience higher levels of accidents. Among these reasons include:
The intersection experiences more traffic than it was designed to handle
Intersections are designed to safely handle a certain amount of traffic. In areas in which traffic at some point exceeds what was expected, unsafe conditions, as well as congestion, can occur at the intersection.
Congestion can not only serve to impede traffic flow, but it can also negatively impact traffic safety. Among the safety issues caused by congestion is potentially impeded sight lines, and also the probability that motorists will drive more aggressively to get through the intersection more quickly.
This aggressive driving can take many forms. Speeding, especially to "make the light," is a frequent occurrence. However, other actions which can be viewed as reckless driving can also occur. Drivers can fail to yield the right of way, and can also drive through red lights. Both of these actions can lead to various people being jeopardized.
Poor visibility at a junction can be caused by various issues. For instance, the lighting can be poor, causing problems for drivers at night. Also, there can be problems with visibility caused by improperly placed stop lights. If drivers can't properly see the stop light, they may not be able to safely navigate through the junction.
Complicated Intersection Layouts
Some intersections can be overly complex. This can occur for various reasons. For example, If too many streets meet at the intersection, drivers may be confused as to the traffic flow and where traffic can come from.
Improper Traffic Control Devices
There can be various safety issues that can arise if the traffic control devices are not properly set up or configured. These traffic control devices can include stop signs, stop lights, signs, road markings, and lane configurations. If these devices are missing or not properly configured, there can be active hazards or motorists can be confused as to how to safely navigate through the intersection.
No Dedicated Turn Lanes
Dedicated turn lanes can greatly aid in reducing congestion as well as improving traffic safety. If the amount of traffic dictates having these lanes - but they are missing - safety issues can arise. Missing dedicated turn lanes often occur if, as mentioned above, if the intersection was not designed to handle the amount of traffic volume and other characteristics of traffic flow.
What To Do If Injured In An Accident
Given the characteristics of accidents that occur at junctions, various injuries can occur. These injuries can range broadly both in type of injury as well as severity.
Steps to take include those discussed in the "10 Steps You Should Follow After An Auto Accident" page.
Two main areas that need to be addressed are those concerning health as well as the ability to get injury compensation if the accident was the fault of another person (or party.)
From a medical perspective, it is important to have a thorough medical examination as soon as possible after being hurt in an accident. This medical examination is typically conducted in a hospital emergency room (ER.) This exam is intended to identify all injuries that have occurred, both those that are evident as well as those that may not be readily apparent. It is important that all injuries are quickly identified. Certain injuries - including head injuries and internal bleeding - can be very serious in nature but may not be readily apparent to the injured person. If these injuries are serious in nature - but don't receive proper medical treatment - they may potentially become life-threatening in nature.
Once all injuries are identified during the medical exam, a course of treatment can be determined and administered. The medical treatment can vary substantially depending upon the injuries and their severity. Various types of medical treatment can include hospitalization; testing, such as blood tests, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs; surgeries; medications; and rehabilitation.
Depending upon the injuries involved, there may be the need for additional medical care, including testing, after the initial treatment period.
The medical bills for this treatment can be significant, if not substantial. As well, the injuries can cause various other types of hardships. Among these hardships is lost income if the injured person is unable to work for a time during the injury recovery period.
Those who have been injured during an accident caused by someone else often seek to get injury compensation through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit. If a person is fatally injured during an accident, relevant parties may seek compensation on behalf of the person killed (decedent) through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Elman Joseph Law Group has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 25 years. As well, the firm handles wrongful death lawsuits.
During this 25+ years, the firm has won many notable settlements and court awards for its clients. Due to this performance, the firm's lawyers have received various awards and performance designations.
Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Joseph Law Group, offers a free initial legal consultation for those who have been injured and for those that are seeking to file a wrongful death lawsuit. He can be contacted at any time at (773) 392-8182 or via email at email@example.com
Elman Joseph Law Group handles all lawsuits on a contingency basis...clients don't pay a fee unless and until they receive compensation.