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High risk for personal injury at Ohio intersections

There is a certain amount of danger in the everyday act of driving or riding in a car. The weather, road conditions, traffic levels and the time of day all can increase the risk.

One of the most dangerous situations is entering an intersection. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 40 percent of all motor vehicle crashes occur at intersections. Obviously, we can’t avoid intersections. What can you do you keep yourself safer?

Keep your eyes on the road

It's always important to stay visually focused on the road in front of you and to scan immediate surroundings while driving. When you approach an intersection, however, this is particularly essential to safety. If you're coming upon a crossroad at the same time as several other vehicles, you must be certain that you have the right of way. Even if you do, you should also be certain that the other drivers fully stop and that it is safe for you to proceed.

Traffic lights and stop signs are not as safe as you think

The NHTSA says that about one-half of all intersection crashes occur at intersections controlled by traffic lights. Another one-third involve intersections controlled by at least one stop sign. Only one-sixth of crashes occur at uncontrolled intersections.

So clearly “controlled” intersections don’t always work as intended. Four-way intersections typically have traffic signals or stop signs to regulate flow and minimize accidents. Pedestrian signal lights also help walkers cross safely. Many intersection collisions occur because of driver negligence or aggressive driving. If someone runs a red light or fails to stop at a stop sign, you might wind up in the back of ambulance on your way to the nearest hospital if that driver hits you. This is why, even if you have a green light, it's important to make sure it is safe to proceed before entering the crossroads. When the light turns green, check for oncoming cars that are trying to “beat the light.”

Alternative types of intersections

Not all intersections in Ohio are four-way stops. You might come upon a Y intersection or a roundabout (traffic circle) during your travels. When there is a lot of traffic, these intersections can be especially challenging. If you're unsure who has the right of way, it's always safest to yield. Many accidents also occur because people who are unfamiliar with the rules stop unexpected when they have the right-of-way.

A word about pedestrians

You have no way of knowing if a pedestrian is going to suddenly step into a crossroad. You might have a green light, but if there are walkers nearby, it is best to pause and make sure no one is entering your path. Pedestrians are obligated to adhere to traffic laws and safety regulations just like drivers are. However, you cannot simply plow ahead when a pedestrian enters the roadway. Drivers have an obligation to avoid a collision if at all possible. If you are a pedestrian, always try to make eye contact with drivers so you know that they see you. Cross in designated crosswalks when possible, and only when you have the walk signal or green light.

If someone causes you personal injury

Recovering from injuries you may have suffered in a crossroads crash can take a long time. And sadly, many intersection collisions are fatal. Such incidents cause emotional and financial distress for families. However, there is no reason you should have to bear the full financial burden associated with a collision that another driver's negligence caused. 

Ohio law provides recourse for recovering accident victims by allowing them to seek compensation for damages in a civil court, if the driver was careless or reckless in operating their vehicle.

 

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