In the Cross Hairs
Intersections can be dangerous places. But some motorists like to top off their morning commute by touching up their makeup, reading the sports page or scarfing down breakfast in anticipation of that red light turning green. Auto body accidents are much more likely when motorists get distracted by activities other than driving and watching the road.
My Turn to Turn
Whether intentional or not, the leading cause of intersection collisions is a driver running a red light. So when that light turns green, keep a sharp eye for cross traffic. Just because you have the right of way doesn’t mean another vehicle won’t blow through the light and come barreling right at you. Also keep in mind that in an intersection oncoming traffic has the right to make a left turn – right in front of you — when they think all is clear. Beware of “red light jumpers,” and never assume that oncoming traffic turning left will yield to your vehicle, even though they should.
Pedestrians might be crossing the road and vehicles ahead of you may be stopped for them, so be careful when turning and accelerating in intersections. Make sure to pay attention to what the vehicle in front of you is doing. Rear-end collisions are common at intersections.
Speeding up at yellow lights to try to beat the red is a risky practice. You can never be sure exactly how long the light will be yellow and exactly when it will turn red. You also never know whether impatient crossing traffic will jump into the intersection.
Other drivers are anticipating your moves, so don’t change lanes as you go through an intersection. When you perform an unexpected traffic maneuver you increase your chance of being involved in an accident.
On the Blink
If intersection traffic lights are out or on a blinking cycle, treat the intersection as an “all stop” intersection. If your light is blinking yellow you have the right of way. Come to a complete stop and do not proceed until you are sure you can safely make it through the intersection. If your light is blinking red you must yield to all crossing traffic.