Intersections in San Diego can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, 40 percent of all car accidents involve intersections. Nearly one-third of all fatal crashes also happen at or near intersections. Many accidents happen because drivers are distracted behind the wheel. Others occur when drivers are too aggressive and think that they can beat a yellow light. If you have been injured in a red or yellow light traffic accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Injury Trial Lawyers, APC can help you get the money you deserve. Call us today to schedule your free case assessment.
Causes of Intersection Accidents in San Diego
Accidents involving intersections are incredibly common. This is likely because there are many things that you can do when you approach an intersection with another road. You can travel straight through the light. You can make a right-hand turn. You can make a left-hand turn. In some places, you can even make a U-Turn. You also have to be aware of others on the road. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians will also be trying to navigate through the busy intersection. With so many different things going on, accidents are bound to happen.
Left-Hand Turn Accidents
Left-hand turns involve crossing over at least one lane of the road. When executing a left-hand turn, it is important to wait until the coast is clear. However, many drivers misjudge the amount of time they have to turn or. Others are simply too impatient to wait until it is safe. This often results in some very serious crashes. Oncoming traffic can slam right into the passenger side of the turning vehicle, causing significant damage. Passengers in the car are likely to suffer debilitating injuries.
Rear End Collisions
Rear end crashes are perhaps the most common type of intersection accident. They happen quite frequently because drivers have different opinions about what a yellow traffic signal means. Some drivers believe that they should not try to pass through the intersection when the light turns yellow. Others think that yellow is a signal to hurry and beat the light before it turns red. These aggressive drivers often end up slamming into the rear of more cautious drivers.
Rear-end accidents are also happening more frequently because drivers are distracted. While sitting at a red light, drivers are inclined to text, check emails, and scroll through social media. Since you’re not paying attention, you may not notice when the light turns green. Eager drivers behind you may not know that you’re not paying attention and slam into the back of your car.
Trying to Beat a Yellow Light
Many intersections in San Diego are controlled by traffic signals. When these signals are followed correctly, accidents are less likely to happen. Unfortunately, many drivers see a yellow traffic light and take it as a signal to speed through the intersection. Intersections must always be crossed with caution. When speeding through, drivers are more likely to slam into other vehicles making turns, clip pedestrians in crosswalks, and crash into the rear of other drivers.
Right Hand Turns
When making a right-hand turn at an intersection you have to be very aware of your surroundings. In addition to making sure that you won’t create a hazard for oncoming traffic, you must also be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists. Many pedestrian accidents happen because drivers roll through red lights to make a right-hand turn and do not check to make sure that the crosswalk is clear. When making a right-hand turn, it is important to come to a complete stop, check the traffic, and also check the closest crosswalks.
Know Your Responsibilities at an Intersection
The best way to avoid an accident at an intersection is to understand traffic laws and regulations. Know what you can (and cannot) do when you approach certain traffic signals and situations.
Steady Red Light
You must come to a complete stop before entering the crosswalk or intersection when approaching a steady red traffic signal. You must stop the vehicle before you enter the closest crosswalk or the intersection itself. You have to remain stopped until the light turns green.
However, you can make a right-hand turn if the turn can be done without creating a hazard for oncoming traffic. [California Vehicle Code Section 21453]
Steady Yellow Light
Does a yellow light mean slow down, or does it signal that you should speed up? California law doesn’t explicitly state that you should slow down. Instead, a yellow signal simply means “the related green movement is ending or that a red indication will be shown immediately thereafter.”
However, since you are obligated to use caution when driving, the best practice is to do whatever is safest in each specific situation. In most cases, this will probably mean slowing down. The safest option is rarely speeding up to “beat” the light before it turns red. [California Vehicle Code Section 21452]
Steady Red Arrow
Years ago, most intersections had fairly simple traffic signals. Today, however, many cities (including San Diego) are installing additional lights to help control the flow of traffic. Turning arrows are becoming particularly popular. When you approach a steady red turning arrow, you have an obligation to stop at the light. You cannot proceed to make your turn until the light has turned green or yellow.
Flashing Yellow Arrow
Many San Diego intersections now have dedicated turning lanes. When the traffic signal flashes yellow, you can proceed to make a turn when it is safe. You are required to yield to oncoming traffic, check crosswalks for pedestrians, and make sure that you can turn without creating a hazard. [California Vehicle Code Section 21454]
Some intersections don’t have traffic lights. Instead, they use stop signs to control traffic. When approaching a four-way stop, you have an obligation to bring your vehicle to a complete rest. You must always yield the right of way to the driver to your right. [California Vehicle Code Section 21800]
Entering or Crossing a Highway
What if you need to enter or cross a highway, but you’re not at a true dedicated intersection? When this happens, you have an obligation to yield to oncoming traffic. You can only enter or cross the road when doing so would not create an immediate hazard for others. Once you’ve committed to entering or crossing, other drivers must yield to you. [California Vehicle Code Section 21804]
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After Your Intersection Accident
Car accidents can have serious consequences. This is particularly true when an accident happens at or near an intersection. Injuries can be very severe and require extensive medical care. You may even be forced to take time away from work to recover. An accident may even prevent you from going back to work, at all. As a result, the financial costs of an intersection accident can be overwhelming. If someone else was to blame for your accident, you can recover compensation. Our attorneys can help you file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.
We will fight to help you compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Get Money Even If You Are Partly Responsible
Don’t be afraid to pursue compensation if you contributed to your own accident or injury. In California, fault will not prevent you from getting the money you need. However, it will reduce your overall financial award. Our attorneys will fight to minimize your contribution to the accident. Shifting the blame to others will help to get you the money you deserve.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Have you been injured in an accident at a San Diego intersection? You may be entitled to compensation if someone else is to blame. The money you recover from a lawsuit can help to minimize the financial pressures you face after your accident. Call our San Diego car accident lawyers today to schedule your free case assessment. We will discuss your accident and determine the best strategy for your case. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim. Call us to get started on your car accident claim today.