In the lively city of Charlotte, North Carolina, where roads crisscross neighborhoods and highways link communities, the issue of traffic safety is a big deal. Some intersections stand out as places where accidents happen more often—where cars, people walking, and bike riders all come together and need extra care.
First, DriveSafe listed its top five dangerous intersections in a recent article. They note that all of these intersections feature heavy traffic and a complex design. These five are:
- Independence Boulevard and Albemarle Road
- Eastway Drive and North Tryon Street
- South Tryon Street and Westinghouse Boulevard
- Central Avenue and Eastway Drive
- Billy Graham Parkway and West Boulevard
Drivers should be cautious when merging, changing lanes, and navigating these intersections.
Second, the Charlotte Observer asked folks in 2023 to submit their picks for most dangerous intersections, and they include:
- North Davidson Street, with one reader pointing out that “All of NoDa. 36th and N Davidson is a gamble with cars turning right on red. At 35th and N Davidson, stop signs are a suggestion. No cars stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.” Readers also warned against crossing at 15th Street and Belmont Avenue.
- Pecan Avenue, with a reader stating “Pecan is a nightmare to bike- cars don’t hesitate to ‘punish pass’ to gain maybe 10 yards before a stop sign.”
- Eastway Road near Howie Circle Road, with another reader noting that “There is no proper crosswalk or light, cars are moving at high speeds; cars are turning left and right out of Eastway Rec. I have had many close calls here and on a more minor level, have sometimes waited >5 minutes to be able to have a clear path to cross safely.”
- Other readers pointed out the following intersections as being unsafe:
- Nations Ford at South Tryon
- Kenilworth and Moorehead
- Remount and the Rail Trail
Another person wrote in to point out that “In every city and locale I visit, the most dangerous place for a runner is at intersection[s] where driver [is] making a right at a red or stop sign. It’s when I get hit the most by cars. Most drivers don’t stop on [when making a] right on red and most don’t look both ways.”
Why are intersection accidents so dangerous?
Intersection accidents pose a significant threat because of a variety of factors that collectively increase the risk of severe accidents. One key aspect contributing to the danger is the nature of intersections, where different streams of traffic intersect, or cross paths. Vehicles meeting up from multiple directions raise the likelihood of collisions.
Moreover, intersections involve varied speeds and directions of travel. Vehicles at intersections often travel at different speeds, and their different directions of travel make it challenging for drivers to predict each other’s actions. Traffic maneuvers, including turns, merges, and lane changes, further add to the potential for accidents. These actions necessitate careful coordination among drivers, as errors or misjudgments can result in collisions.
Intersections are also characterized by the interaction of different road users, including pedestrians and cyclists navigating crosswalks and intersections. The presence of multiple types of road users adds an extra layer of complexity to potential accidents.
Limited reaction time is another factor contributing to the danger of intersection accidents. The close proximity of vehicles at intersections leaves drivers with little time to react to unexpected events. Drivers must make quick decisions, and any delay in response can lead to collisions.
Violations of traffic signals, such as running red lights or stop signs, are common causes of intersection accidents. These violations often result in T-bone or side-impact collisions, which tend to have more severe consequences than rear-end collisions.
Visibility challenges at intersections can also contribute to accidents. Obstructions like buildings, parked vehicles, or vegetation may limit visibility, increasing the likelihood of drivers not seeing each other until it’s too late to avoid a collision.
Additionally, intersection design issues and inadequate signage can contribute to confusion among drivers. Poorly designed intersections may increase the risk of accidents.
Busy intersections with high traffic volume are more prone to accidents due to the increased number of vehicles interacting within a small space. Rear-end collisions are particularly common at intersections, especially when a vehicle stops suddenly, potentially leading to a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles.
Tips for safe driving at intersections in Charlotte
Following are some essential tips for safe driving at intersections.
Before entering the intersection
- Slow down and be prepared to stop: Adjust your speed based on the visibility and potential hazards. Remember, you should always be able to stop for unexpected situations.
- Scanning is crucial: Look left, right, and left again for oncoming traffic, turning vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. Don’t rely solely on traffic signals and signs.
- Don’t assume right of way: Even if you have the right of way, proceed cautiously and be prepared to yield if necessary. Assume other drivers might make mistakes.
- Mind the yellow light: Don’t speed up to try and make it through a yellow light. It’s safer to come to a stop and avoid the risk of running a red light.
- Maintain adequate distance: Leave enough space between you and the car in front to react safely to sudden stops or changes in traffic flow.
- Turn signals are your friends: Use them clearly and early to signal your intentions to other drivers.
Entering and navigating the intersection
- Proceed slowly and smoothly: Avoid jerky movements and be aware of blind spots where vehicles or pedestrians might be hidden.
- Keep scanning: Don’t let your guard down once you’ve entered the intersection. Continue to watch for potential hazards in all directions.
- Watch for turning vehicles: Pay particular attention to cars turning left or right in front of you, especially in blind spots.
- Yield to pedestrians: Be extra cautious near crosswalks and look out for pedestrians before and while turning.
- Don’t block the intersection: Avoid stopping in the middle of the intersection, even if you have the right of way. This can block traffic and create dangerous situations.
- Minimize distractions: Avoid using your phone, eating, or engaging in any activity that takes your attention away from driving.
- Stay alert and focused: Fatigue, drowsiness, and even strong emotions can impair your driving judgment. Take breaks when needed and avoid driving under the influence of anything that could affect your focus.
- Be patient and courteous: Don’t be tempted to rush through intersections or take risks. Yield the right of way when appropriate and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
Remember, safe driving is about anticipating the unexpected and being prepared to react. By following these tips and paying attention to your surroundings, you can significantly improve your safety at intersections and on the road in general.
Were you injured in an intersection accident that wasn’t your fault? The Charlotte car accident lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates can help. We work to hold the right parties responsible for your injuries and losses, and work to secure the compensation to which you’re entitled. To schedule a free consultation, please call our office or complete our contact form today. We have offices in Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton for your convenience.
Attorney Doug Petho is the owner and founder of Price, Petho & Associates. His primary focus is the litigation of plaintiff’s personal injury suits, and he has successfully tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict involving car accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and work-related accidents. Contact his office in Charlotte today.