Intersections are dangerous. That is why they are usually controlled by traffic lights, stop signs, or yield signs giving somebody the right of way. Unfortunately, many collisions still occur because someone is confused about who has the right of way and if that way is clear. Here are some tips to avoid the most common intersection mistakes and finding yourself a defendant in a car accident lawsuit.
- Wait your turn at yield signs
A common place for a rear-end collision is in a turning lane controlled by a yield sign. The driver in front starts moving forward only to have to stop again for traffic. The driver behind sees the front car start to go and turn. Back car rear-ends front car. Keep your eyes forward until you are the front car. Only then is it safe to check for cross traffic. Being the front car will also ensure you have the best view of traffic and that the path is clear.
- Make sure you can see before entering the intersection.
This applies to numerous situations: sun glare, other vehicles, trees or other vegetation, or a tight curve in the roadway. The fact remains the same for all of them: if you can’t see, you can’t be sure that you have the right-of-way. And no police officer or judge wants to hear that you didn’t see the other vehicle coming. The first, best option is to wait. Some obstructions, like vehicles, will move. Waiting also allows you time to be sure that no other vehicle is hiding in a blind spot. Then, when you’re sure the path is clear, inch forward slowly and keep a sharp eye where you couldn’t see before. Once you clear the obstruction, then you are safe to drive.
- Stay in your lane and know where it goes
Changing lanes in the middle of an intersection is very dangerous. So is going straight from a right turn only lane. Once other drivers have chosen their lane and are in the intersection, the last thing they are looking out for is a vehicle moving into their lane. If you find yourself about to go the wrong way, you have two options. As the lawyers can explain, the best is to commit to the wrong turn and then find a way to get back on course – this is especially easy with modern-day GPS apps. But, if you absolutely must change lanes, signal and wait. Be courteous. Do not accelerate and try to squeeze in ahead of the car next to you.