Intersection Accidents in North Carolina
Highway intersections bring multiple roads and opposing directions of traffic together. It’s no wonder that they are the site of so many car accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says about 40 percent of car crashes in the U.S. happen at intersections. The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) says more than 94,800 car accidents occurred at intersections across the state in 2011 alone.
Car drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists are all subject to being seriously hurt in car accidents at intersections. Many of these crashes are preventable: they result from bad decisions made by careless drivers.
If you have been injured in an intersection crash that was caused by another individual, it is important to seek legal assistance. You have rights that need to be fully protected. You may also be eligible to recover money to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses brought on by the wreck.
How Intersection Accidents Happen in North Carolina
The NHTSA, in a major study of intersection accidents, found that turning left, crossing over or turning right at an intersection creates a potential for conflicts that result in literally millions of collisions each year. The report said 96 percent of intersection accidents are actually caused by driver error.
The most frequent driver mistakes before an intersection accident were:
- Inadequate surveillance (inattention)
- False assumption of other driver’s action
- Turning with obstructed view
- Illegal maneuver
- Internal distraction (distracted driving)
- Misjudgment of gap or other car’s speed.
Accidents that happen while simply crossing an intersection are most often caused by inattention or an illegal maneuver, the NHTSA said. In a left-turn accident at an intersection, the cause is most likely an obstructed view or misjudging the other car’s speed or the gap between vehicles. Drivers turning right at an intersection who get into a crash are more likely to incorrectly assume what another driver is about to do.
The NHTSA study also said intersection accidents involving drivers ages 24 years old and younger are more likely to be caused by “internal distraction” (i.e., distracted driving), “false assumption of other’s action,” “going too fast for conditions (speeding) or aggressive driving,” or “external distraction.”
According to the NCDOT, major “contributing circumstances” for accidents statewide in 2011 included circumstances commonly found at intersections, such as:
- Disregarded stop sign (3,315 crashes)
- Disregarded traffic signals (6,395)
- Disregarded yield sign (442)
- Right turn on red (224).
Another 6,686 car accidents in North Carolina in 2011 were attributed to an improper turn by the driver.
Common Injuries from Intersection Crashes
Accidents at intersections are typically side-impact collisions. These are also called right-angle or “T-bone” crashes. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noted that thousands of right-angle crashes at intersections are caused by drivers’ running stoplights.
An NCDOT study of intersection configurations noted that side-impact collisions statistically result in the most severe injuries because drivers and/or passengers receive the brunt of impact from the side of the vehicle, which offers less protection than the front and rear of a car do.
A driver, passenger, pedestrian or bicyclist in an intersection accident may suffer any of several types of injury, including head or traumatic brain injury (TBI), neck injury, spine and back injuries, broken bones or soft tissue injury (cuts, bruises, tears or sprains).
A North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Can Help with your Intersection Accident Claim
An intersection accident that causes serious injury or death may be legally actionable if it was caused by a driver’s carelessness or recklessness. Those who have been injured or suffered a serious loss have a right to seek compensation in such a case.
It’s important to take immediate action. Call Hardison & Cochran today at (800) 434-8399 or submit our online contact form. A North Carolina car accident lawyer from our firm can discuss the facts of your case and review your legal options in a free consultation. You will not have to pay for our legal services until we obtain a full recovery for you.
- North Carolina 2011 Traffic Crash Facts, N.C. Department of Transportation
- Crash Factors in Intersection-Related Crashes: An On-Scene Perspective, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Red-light Cameras, UNC Highway Safety Research Center