Defensive Driving: Intersections
More than 33% of traffic accidents occur at an intersection. This means that there are more than 787,000 intersection accidents a year in the United States.
Intersection accidents also make up more than 4 out of 10 of pedestrian accidents.
Defensive driving can help prevent these accidents.
If you are driving, you are more than likely to approach at least one intersection every trip. Here are some defensive driving tips that will help you to drive safely and cautiously at an intersection.
Defensive Driving as You Approach the Intersection
-Make sure that you are in the correct lane.
-Take a look around. Do you see people crossing the street? Is there construction on the street? Are there any turn restrictions?
-Defensive driving not only includes driving for yourself, but driving for others. Make sure you keep enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Be aware of their brake lights and turn signals.
-Also watch for turn signals and brake lights in front of the vehicle immediately in front of you. Be prepared to slow down if they do.
-If you are turning right, look to your left, then look to your right before you turn.
-Do not be distracted by anything inside your vehicle, like your radio or your phone. Pay attention to your surroundings.
Defensive Driving as You Go Through the Intersection
-Don’t speed up for a yellow light. Yellow means slow!
-Be aware of cross traffic. You never know who would run a red light because they thought it would stay yellow.
-Look out for people making left turns across your lane. Even if you have a green light, some intersections allow people to make left turns with no green arrow.
-Stop behind the line. Leave enough space for pedestrians. Stay on the brake while waiting for the light to turn green.
-If you see that traffic is backed up across the intersection, wait before you enter. If not, you might get stuck in the middle of the intersection and hold up cross traffic. Or worse, get hit by cross traffic.
-Wait to change lanes until after you have gone through the intersection.
-If the traffic signals are not functioning at an intersection, treat it as an all-way stop.
Because there is so much going on, driving at an intersection can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly. These are some ways that you can use defensive driving to protect yourself and others around you when driving at an intersection.