How Could Intersections Be Safer?

There are many ways to make intersections safe and extensive literature on the subject. Drivers can look left, right, then left again to ensure their right of way is clear. They can also try to slow somewhat before getting close to the intersection, thereby minimizing their chance of being pushed into the intersection by inattentive followers.

From a design perspective, there are many safer designs for intersections. Left turns are perilous at intersections*, and designs have been available for years that minimize or eliminate the need for left turns at intersections. (Interestingly enough, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover knew the danger of left turning at intersections, and anyone driving him anywhere was prohibited from making left turns. Find and read No Left Turns by Joseph L. Schott for a hilarious side read.

Roundabouts are circular intersections that minimize accidents and left turns. At a roundabout, incoming traffic yields the right of way to cars in the roundabout. Much literature suggests the use of roundabouts by public government agencies, but tragically many have not acted on the advice. See, for example, Report 572 of the Transportation Research Board entitled ROUNDABOUTS IN THE UNITED STATES. Also, MODERN ROUNDABOUTS: A SAFER CHOICE. Additionally, red light cameras are often helpful in getting people to reduce their speed at intersections and to engage care in not running red lights. (See Red-Light Cameras/AutoMated Enforcement

If an intersection has a red light camera, it's critical for the attorney to promptly preserve and subpoena the photos. If the intersection does not have such a camera, it may be negligence on the municipalities part not to have put one in. Often, such traffic signals are not correctly calibrated and mislead both traffic streams. The Traffic Control Devices Handbook has much information on this topic.

The government may also have been negligent in designing an unsignaled rural intersection since the dangers of such intersections are very well known. (see NCHRP Report 500 Volume 05 A Guide to Addressing Unsignalized Intersection Collisions)

If you or your family has suffered a severe accident in an intersection, contacting an experienced attorney is critical. Call our law firm at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. 

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