Many Maryland roadways carry high amounts of traffic daily, and some sections of road are inherently more dangerous than others. Crossroads or intersections are high-risk areas. Collisions resulting in severe or life-threatening injuries often occur at such locations. By making three safety habits part of your usual driving routine, you can improve intersection safety and, perhaps, reduce the chances of an accident occurring.
Keep in mind that, no matter how cautious and alert you are when approaching a Maryland intersection, you have no control over the behavior of other drivers. You might be sharing the road at any given moment with someone whose driving habits are reckless or careless. This is why it’s equally important to know what to do if someone hits you.
Full visibility and careful scanning of your surroundings helps avoid collisions
There can be a lot going on when you come upon an intersection while driving. If you’re in a busy town, there might be pedestrians, construction crews, lots of traffic and many stationary objects, such as parked vehicles, to distract your attention and obstruct visibility at a crossroad. More than 40% of intersection collisions have a common factor — insufficient awareness of surroundings.
By scanning your surroundings on all sides, you can see if there are bicyclists, pedestrians crossing the road or cars approaching from other directions. If, however, you’re only looking straight ahead, you might not see a vehicle approaching from left or right, and if that vehicle fails to stop at a red light or stop sign, you might be the one it hits if you enter the crossway too soon.
How to time your entrance at an intersection just right
Entering a crossway too soon is another key factor in many intersection collisions. While you might have the legal right-of-way to proceed, such as a traffic light that has turned green, it is always best to pause for a few seconds and survey the whole area one last time. If you step on the accelerator too quickly when a light turns green, a collision might occur if someone steps onto the road, or a car keeps moving through a red light.
You can also improve intersection safety by making it a habit to slow down (rather than speed up) if the traffic light in front of you turns yellow. Many fatal collisions have occurred throughout the state when drivers have tried to “beat” a yellow light before it turned red.
Do not make assumptions when you see active turn signals
Just because another motorist has engaged a turn signal, it doesn’t necessarily mean the vehicle will move in that direction or make a turn at all. Many drivers forget to turn off signals that haven’t disengaged automatically. There are also those (especially when intoxicated) who employ the wrong turn signal. You might see a left turn signal blinking and the vehicle might turn right.
While these three driving habits help avoid intersection collisions, there is no guarantee that you’ll make it through a crossroad safely, especially if you’re sharing the road with a distracted or intoxicated driver. If someone hits you, remember to do these things: obtain medical support, have photos taken of the scene and document evidence for future use, especially if driver negligence was a causal factor in the incident.