The very idea of multiple vehicles going in separate directions is dangerous when you think about it, but converging at a single point might be something you would arrange to happen if you were to cause an accident deliberately!
Here are some fast tips to negotiate intersections, prevent collisions, and reach your destination safely. But what can you do at intersections to improve safety?
- DO NOT drive aggressively. A risky strategy is to accelerate to "create" a red light. A yellow signal means planning to brake; you can stop or slow down to a stop by the time the signal is red.
- Distracted driving. In almost all nations, talking on the phone and texting are obvious distractions and are illegal. But there are also other forms of distracted driving, such as shaving, applying makeup, or looking at a map, that may lead to an accident. Searching for an address can also lead to the inattention and distraction of drivers. So set your GPS or find directions on a site you want, before leaving for your destination. Go to the street level view, if you use Google maps, so you have an idea of what your destination building looks like.
- Control the speed. Speeding is one of the significant contributing factors to accidents, especially those occurring at intersections or at intersections that enter or exit.
- Maintain a car. The malfunctioning of warning lights (turn signals, brakes, headlights, etc.) makes predicting your actions difficult for other motorists.
- Boost your degree of vigilance. Display extra caution during congested traffic periods, such as rush hours, building zones, and accident scenes while passing.
- Learn patience. Impatience raises feelings and focus decreases.
- Do not drive with impaired control. A simple "do not do" is to drive after drinking or taking medication (illicit or prescription). Insufficient sleep may also affect drivers, often as great as drinking and driving.
- Do not drive and eat. When you take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road, tempting as it may be to whip through a drive-through and pick up a burger and shake, eating while driving proves risky.
- Never run a red light. This bears repeating: The outcome of someone running a red light is almost one in eight intersection collisions.
- Wear your seatbelt still. Insist that everyone else buckles up in your car too. In child safety seats suitable to their age and height, children need to be in the back seat.
- Stow the electronic devices away. If they are securely stored out of reach, you would not be tempted to lunge for your cellphone or tablet.
- Assess your own driving ability. Do a self-assessment of your driving abilities and behaviors, and ask others too, then think about how you might change.
- Take an assessment course for a defensive driver. These classes are offered by several cultures and the American.
- Driving is not a competition. Your aim is to get from point A to point B safely and without an accident while you are driving.
- For other drivers, be courteous. The Golden Rule is it!
The first measure to improve intersection safety is driver etiquette. But at an intersection, who has the right-of-way? The reply is, it depends!
Emergency vehicles will have the first right-of-way, of course. Remain stopped and still until the intersection area is completely cleared by the emergency vehicle. Check before you travel to make sure all emergency vehicles do not obey the first one.
The right-of-way still refers to pedestrians. Even if a pedestrian is crossing illegally (jaywalking), the right-of-way must still always be granted.
The right-of-way is still open for unrestricted traffic flow. The unrestricted flow of traffic has the right-of-way at an intersection controlled only by a stop sign at one of the cross-streets.
At intersections controlled by stop signs at all crossroads, the vehicle that enters the intersection first and stops first always has the right-of-way. You can return to the car on your right if vehicles arrive at the intersection at about the same moment. For vehicles going straight ahead, vehicles turning left should always yield.
Make sure that when you pass different traffic signals and controls, you know exactly what to do.
If heavy traffic on the highway demands a halt, yield signs do not mean "halt". Yield means slowly and deliberately merging with traffic going in the same direction you are going in and giving the right-of-way, if possible, to vehicles approaching or already at the intersection.
Traffic lights come in various colors and kinds. In each direction, the completely controlled traffic light has a red, yellow, and green light that regulates the traffic flow. A green light means continuing with responsible caution; yellow signals at the intersection to brace for a transition, most frequently followed by a red light, which means stopping, of course.
Yellow signals are not an invitation to cars to "beat" the red light by accelerating into the intersection. To avoid breaking the subsequent red light and, at the same time, to prevent having to pause in the middle of the intersection, use good judgment.
You will sometimes experience flashing lights: Flashing amber lights warn the driver to approach and proceed through an intersection with caution. Blinking red lights require that motorists stop at the intersection before proceeding through.
Before continuing, unmarked intersections that have no control lights or signage should be considered as full stops in both directions.
Planning ahead will stop the rush, reduce traffic tension, and help make sure you get where you go on time.
Rushing to make an appointment is a recipe for an accident because of bad preparation. Because you are in that rush, running a red light is asking for an accident! Plan ahead, expect delays in traffic and leave for your destination early.
Before leaving for your ride, listen to the traffic forecasts. In order to maneuver around traffic snarls and incidents that can clog your expected path, consider alternative travel routes.
Ignore distractions that interfere with your safe driving ability. Significant cognitive resources are required for driving. To keep you going safely down the lane, your brain uses visual signals, audio signals, and elevated thought processing. Driving a car does not mix well with distractions such as talking on a mobile phone, emailing, shaving, eating, putting on makeup, reading a newspaper, or any of the many other things that drivers frequently attempt to mix with the driving job.
Drive defensively before they arise, anticipating challenging circumstances and issues. When approaching an intersection, think about what other drivers might do, particularly when you change your own direction to reach the intersection.
When you approach or exit an intersection, do not change lanes. And always surrender to other traffic when making a U-turn on the highway at an intersection or elsewhere.