While every driver has navigated through countless intersections, most drivers rarely consider the unique hazard that intersections pose. In fact, intersections are the most common location for accidents. The necessary crossing of vehicles, in opposing and perpendicular traffic patterns, means accidents can happen any time a driver makes even the smallest of mistakes, such as a momentary lapse in attention. Furthermore, not all intersections are created equal. Some intersections may be more dangerous because of physical characteristics: regular sunglare, blind spots, multiple lanes, more than two roads intersecting, high traffic levels, and more. If you live in South Florida, you may want to know which intersections are ones to generally avoid.
What Makes an Intersection Dangerous?
All intersections pose some level of risk to drivers. However, certain factors can make an intersection more dangerous:
- Improperly marked lanes. If lanes are not well marked at an intersection, it is more difficult for drivers to determine where they need to keep their vehicle. Driver uncertainty caused by lack of lane markers may lead to vehicles being in inappropriate places, and increases the risk of accidents.
- Incorrectly placed, obscured, or difficult-to-read signs. Signs provide vital information to drivers, and if that information is not conveyed, for any reason, risk necessarily increases. Obscured signs and confusing or difficult-to-read signs create the same challenges for drivers as the total absence of signs.
- Poorly maintained roads. Potholes and other road hazards increase the risk of accidents for vehicles traveling through intersections. Rough pavement may make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles or send them off-course.
- Sharp drop-offs. Any intersection with uneven surfaces may make it more difficult for drivers to keep their vehicles on the road. A lack of room to maneuver can also pose increased danger for drivers.
- Narrow lanes. Narrow lanes decrease the amount of room a vehicle has to maneuver on the road, and drivers must keep within a tight space to protect themselves and their passengers.
- Inadequate lighting. Drivers using roads at night need to see clearly in order to move safely through an intersection. Inadequate lighting can increase the risk for accidents.
- Confusing traffic signals. Confusing or malfunctioning traffic signals, such as an illuminated crosswalk light while traffic is still moving through the intersection, or other conflicting signs, may be dangerous. When drivers are confused by traffic signals they may make impulsive or incorrect decisions that cause accidents.
South Florida’s Most Dangerous Intersections
According to the New York Times, South Florida has many dangerous intersections. The Times identified several specific intersections that pose higher risks for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, including:
- NE Second Avenue and 36th Street in Midtown Miami;
- SW 117th Avenue and Kendall Drive in West Kendall;
- South Dixie Highway at every intersection south of I-95 in Coconut Grove;
- SW 117th Avenue and 152nd Street in South Miami-Dade;
- A1A and Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale;
- Alton Road and Dade Boulevard in South Beach;
- NW 87th Street and 36th Street in Doral;
- The Brickell Avenue Bridge in Brickell;
- NE First Avenue and NE Sixth Street in Downtown Miami; and
- Pines Boulevard and South Flamingo Road in Pembroke Pines.
What if You Must Drive These Roads?
If you live or work in South Florida, you may use one or more especially dangerous intersection on a regular basis, and unfortunately, it may be difficult or impossible to avoid them completely. If you must navigate these roads, take steps to keep yourself safer and reduce the risk of accidents:
- Avoid dangerous intersections when possible. Sometimes you may not have a choice about the intersections you must use, especially if you work, go to school, or live in the area. However, if you have other options to the most dangerous intersections, use them whenever possible. Decreasing traffic in dangerous intersections is one way to lower the overall risk for others, and removing your vehicle from heightened risk means you will not become a victim of that location.
- Choose travel times carefully. If you have a flexible schedule you may want to choose off-peak times to travel known danger spots. You may be able to reduce your odds of accident and injury by avoiding rush hour and other periods with high traffic volume.
- Proceed with caution. Always use caution at every intersection. Do not speed, and stay within the flow of traffic. Be a defensive driver, and keep alert to any increased risk factors, such as poor roads or lighting, confusing or conflicting signs, and poorly marked or narrow lanes.
- Put away distractions. Take particular care not to engage in distracting behaviors while driving through intersections. Never text or try to use a cell phone; even glancing at a phone GPS while in an intersection may increase the risk for an accident. If you have passengers in your car, you may want to ask them to hold the conversation until after you have safely passed through the intersection. Avoiding distractions is one of the best precautions a driver can take for themselves and others.
- Watch out for other drivers. By actively watching other drivers and vehicles you may be able to anticipate and avoid potentially dangerous situations. You may see other drivers who appear distracted, or who are driving recklessly or erratically. By paying attention you can drive defensively and take measure to avoid such drivers, perhaps by slowing down or taking another route. Inattention may leave you with inadequate time to safely respond to danger, while the more attention you pay to the road and everything happening outside of your vehicle, the better your odds to avoid an accident
Have You Been Injured in a Dangerous Intersection?
Have you been injured in an accident in one of South Florida’s many dangerous intersections? Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn if you may have a claim for damages. Contact Uber Car Accident Law at (305) 964-8806 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help.