Intersections can be chaotic and frustrating. Whether you’re a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian, learning how to use the intersections in a safe, efficient, and predictable way is your responsibility. Doing so will keep your community safer, and even save lives. Here are ten must-know intersection safety tips for every driver and pedestrian:
1. Never Speed Through an Intersection
Many of the worst intersection accidents occur due to speeding. Especially when someone speeds through a traffic light, the consequences can be catastrophic. These accidents become more common if a driver is either distracted or intoxicated. If you or a loved one have been harmed by an irresponsible driver at an intersection, contacting a Chicago intersection accident lawyer is key, as they can help you seek out and gain the restitution that you rightfully deserve.
2. Slow Down!
Even if you’re not driving through an intersection, slowing down as you approach them is absolutely necessary. If you want to avoid a situation where you have no time to react, you need to pay attention to your speed. Take note of how fast other vehicles are going and of the posted speed limit of the area you’re driving in to help. Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t rear-end the car in front of you!
3. Know Your Reference Points
Using proper reference points is key to driving safely at, and nearby, intersections. You need to know where the curb is, where other cars are nearby, how long/deep the intersection is, and what the current flow of traffic at the intersection is, if you want to stay safe. While this barrage of information can sound intimidating, experienced drivers should have no issue understanding their traffic reference points if they’re paying attention and driving responsibly.
4. Assess the Situation Carefully
Beyond simple reference points, you should be prepared for sudden, momentary decision-making when at an intersection. Especially if you’re at a busy intersection in a crowded city, you should expect, and be prepared for, reckless drivers. The more aware you are of the situation around you, the better you can assess how to most safely handle any momentary decisions. Doing so could even save your life!
5. Share the Road!
Many people make the reckless decision to block lanes of traffic at intersections to avoid minor inconveniences. If you miss your chance to get in the right lane, get over your ego, and take the time to correct your navigation path in a safe, legal, and easy-to-understand fashion. Even one person becoming reckless at an intersection can lead to a chain of events that will lead to an accident, after all.
6. Blind Spots are Key
If you want to stay safe on the road, you need to always consider where both your blind spots and the blind spots of other drivers are located. Few things can cause accident-causing scenarios to unfold quite like driving in someone’s blind spot. This is a safety tip that new and inexperienced drivers need to keep in mind especially, as this is a rookie mistake that drivers often have to learn to avoid during their first few years of driving.
7. Always Use Your Turn Signals
Unfortunately, many people still refuse to use their turn signals at intersections. These people will assume that everyone knows what lane goes where, and in turn, end up making the flow of traffic much more chaotic and dangerous. Staying in the proper lanes, and always using your turn signals is not only proper driving etiquette, but it’s essential for keeping the flow of traffic safe and effective.
8. Provide Enough Space
You should always keep at least two car lengths between you and the next vehicle when possible. Realistically, however, this rule is not always followed at intersections (especially busy city intersections). That being said, you should be giving as much space as you can afford to to the drivers around you to stay safe at intersections. And be sure to give space to cyclists and pedestrians as well!
9. Never Jaywalk
Jaywalking may seem like a harmless activity, but thousands of people die from jaywalking accidents every single year. Especially if you’re distracted or intoxicated while jaywalking, you could find yourself in a troublesome, or even deadly, situation. Jaywalking can also cause drivers on the road to swerve into an accident, so you’re keeping everyone safe by avoiding the practice (and you’ll be saving yourself legal fines as well).
10. The Road is for Everyone
Remember, the road is for everyone (motorists and pedestrians alike). Remember this next time you get behind the wheel, and you can save lives. Even if you’re in a fairly laid-back city where intersections are not all that dangerous, you’ll be keeping the flow of traffic even and pleasant by using proper intersection safety and etiquette.