Back at the beginning of December 2019, Bay News 9 reported on three separate crashes that all occurred within a 24-hour timeframe. Ironically, all the accidents happened at an intersection. The source said the first crash transpired in Pasco County at the intersection of Seven Springs Boulevard and San Jose Loop around 6:00 p.m. The Florida Highway Patrol stated that a Dodge Ram turned into the path of a motorcyclist and his passenger causing the bike to collide with the right side of the Ram. Both the motorcyclist and his passenger were transported to a local hospital where they passed away as a result of their injuries.

The next collision occurred at 8:15 p.m. at the intersection of SR-589 in Hernando County. The source said that a male driver had been traveling north on Spring Hill Drive when another motorist ran into his path. The two vehicles collided and the second driver who entered into the path of the other suffered fatal injuries. The third collision occurred just after 6:00 a.m. the following day at the intersection of US-19 and Sunray Drive in Pasco County. One driver was traveling northbound when he failed to control his speed and collided with a dump truck. Sadly, that driver suffered fatal injuries.

What Can a Driver in Tampa, FL do to Safely Navigate Through an Intersection?

Intersections are one of the busiest areas a motorist will encounter while driving. Cars are passing through, pedestrians are crossing the street, and bicyclists are pedaling across the road. Because there is so much happening at an intersection, it is no surprise that accidents happen there frequently.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says that “negotiating intersections is one of the most complex and demanding tasks a driver faces.” In order for a driver to “successfully execute a vehicle maneuver through an intersection, the driver must receive and recognize available information, make a decision, and execute the desired action.” The source goes on to explain that “one limitation is that humans are serial processors, and the cognitive task load at intersections can be quite large.” Some of the things a driver must consider when entering an intersection include:

  • Being aware that you are approaching an intersection up ahead.
  • Monitoring and adjusting your speed.
  • Being aware of the other vehicles and objects in the area as well as in your travel path.
  • Being cognizant of others nearby such as pedestrians and bicyclists who might also be in the intersection.
  • “Monitoring other traffic movements particularly in conflicting movements.”
  • Aware of and responding to signals or signs.
  • “Assessing adequacy of gaps for turning movements.”
  • “Rapidly making a stop/go decision in the dilemma zone.”
  • Slowing down when making a turn and decelerating when stopping.
  • “Maintaining proper lane position.”
  • “Selecting the proper lane.”

Aside from knowing what you must do to safely cross through an intersection, it is also important to understand what factors play a role in causing accidents in these areas so that you can avoid engaging in that type of behavior. The FHWA says that “perceptual failures account for a large portion of driver errors.” Some of these include:

  • “Looked but did not see.”
  • Visual obstructions and clutter.
  • Reduced visibility due to environmental factors.
  • Poor judgment of speed and/or distance.
  • Low conspicuity of target.

Some other factors that lead to intersection accidents where signals are present include:

  1. Driving distracted. Distracted driving plays a large role in intersection crashes. Some of the more common things that cause drivers to become distracted include using their cell phone, engaging in a conversation with a passenger, eating, etc.
  2. Failing to detect a signalized intersection and signal indications.
  3. Failing to detect proper lane assignment.
  4. Not knowing whether to stop when a signal has turned yellow (this is referred to as the dilemma zone).
  5. Underestimating the time it will take you to reach an intersection.
  6. Underestimating the time it will take you to make a smooth stop.
  7. “Failing to discern conflict boundaries (stop bar and beyond).”
  8. “Accepting an unsafe gap distance when making an unprotected left turn.”
  9. “Misinterpreting guide sign information.”

[Source: FHWA].

Now that we have shared with you some of the factors that contribute to intersection accidents, it is important for you to avoid engaging in any type of behavior that could potentially put you at risk of a crash.

I was involved in a car wreck at an intersection in Tampa, FL. Do I need to retain a car accident lawyer?

In most cases, it can benefit a car crash victim to retain a Tampa, FL car accident attorney as they can help them understand their rights along with how much they are entitled to collect for their damages. To find out if you need a lawyer, we recommend you contact Larson Johnson, PL today for an initial consultation. Auto accidents can have devastating effects on a victim and their family, and it is the duty of our lawyers to ensure those who have been impacted by a collision receive the compensation they deserve.