Does your heart beat a little faster whenever you drive through an intersection? That’s a natural reaction after being in a broadside collision (also known as a T-bone collision) with another driver. T-bone accidents often leave victims with serious injuries and property damage, but by understanding where they take place, you can minimize your risk of being involved in one.
Most Broadside Collisions Occur at Intersections
It makes sense that intersections are where most broadside collisions happen. After all, intersections are where vehicles moving in different directions cross paths at a single point.
Intersections are the most dangerous places on the road throughout the country. They are so dangerous, in fact, that many local governments are now replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts. The goal is to keep traffic flowing while also reducing the number of accidents. Furthermore, roundabouts prevent vehicles from crossing each other’s paths perpendicularly, reducing the risk of broadside accidents.
Why Intersections Are the Site of Many Broadside Collisions
What follows are a few critical factors that make intersections the site of so many accidents.
Planned Points of Conflict
The Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) refers to intersections as “planned points of conflict” in any roadway system—where vehicle drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians interact. When everyone obeys the laws of the road, things go smoothly and collisions do not occur. All it takes, however, is one misjudgment or malfunction to cause a major accident.
According to the FHSA, 25 percent of all traffic fatalities and nearly 50 percent of all traffic injuries occur at intersections. What’s more, roughly half of all traffic accidents occurring at intersections are broadside collisions. Intersections need to be a focus of safety improvement, not just from local planning officials, but from drivers as well.
Traffic Lights and Signals
Many serious accidents take place at intersections that lack traffic lights and signals. Because of this, most cities around the country have installed more traffic lights and signals to improve safety for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Even with traffic control measures in place, however, accidents still happen and people still get hurt.
Municipalities should always be looking at new ways to improve the safety of the intersections in their area.
Local officials can consider dozens of factors when deciding how best to manage traffic at intersections, including:
- The number of lanes at an intersection
- The effect of traffic control measures on the flow of traffic
- The average number of pedestrians that walk across an intersection each day
- The best placement of traffic control measures to ensure they are visible to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians
- The cost of traffic control measures, including installation and maintenance
Even with the best of intentions, engineers sometimes get it wrong. In some cases, the existing traffic measures don’t keep up with the ever-changing needs of a community as it develops. As a result, the likelihood of broadside collisions and other traffic accidents increases.
One common engineering oversight is setting the time interval for yellow lights too short, making it more likely a driver will inadvertently run a red light. Similarly, many drivers will inadvertently run a red light if the traffic signals are not easily visible. Broadside collisions are often the result of drivers running red lights or trying to “beat” them.
Left-hand turns are another occurrence leading to broadside collisions at intersections. Whenever a driver turns left in front of other traffic, the likelihood of a broadside collision rises. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) refers to crashes caused by left-hand turns as “crossing path” accidents. Their data states that left-hand turns account for 53 percent of all crossing path accidents, also known as broadside collisions.
Human Error and Poor Decisions
No matter how carefully engineers design intersections for public safety, there is no way to anticipate or control human error and poor judgment. There is lots of information at an intersection for a driver to process at any given moment.
For example, drivers must notice the lights and signs while reacting to what others in the intersection are doing. At any second, a driver may need to make several decisions, and just one wrong decision could potentially result in a serious accident. With such little room for error, it’s easy to see why the rate of accidents at intersections is so high.
Other examples of mistakes and poor decision-making that lead to accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Drinking and driving
- Driving while drowsy
- Not accounting for poor weather or road conditions
Other Considerations of Broadside Collisions
You know that a broadside collision takes place when one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle.
Here is some additional information to further your knowledge of broadside collisions:
- T-bone collisions don’t always take place at a right-angle, as the name might suggest. A side impact can occur at any angle.
- Broadside collisions also occur in parking lots and on neighborhood streets, such as when a driver backs a car out of a parking spot or driveway and collides with the side of another car at its rear.
- Occupants of smaller vehicles often suffer severe injuries and fatalities at a higher rate than occupants of larger vehicles.
- When a larger vehicle collides with a smaller vehicle, the impact usually occurs at the side glass, upper door, and roof.
What Should You Do After a Broadside Collision?
If the collision has left you injured in any way, visit your doctor immediately and pursue any necessary treatment. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments and follow your doctor’s advice. As soon as your condition is stable, consult with a reputable car accident attorney and have them review your case. Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of reputable car accident attorneys offer free consultations.
An experienced car accident lawyer will understand you may need financial assistance to deal with your accident and can connect you with the resources you need or help you secure medical treatment on a lien basis. Finally, by retaining a lawyer, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery while your attorney pursues the maximum compensation for your losses.