One out of every two car accidents happens at or near an intersection. That’s 2.5 million intersection accidents across the country every year. Los Angeles is no exception. The city boasts some of the nation’s most dangerous intersections.
In recent years, the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed in Los Angeles traffic accidents has gone through the roof. This prompted the city to do something about its dangerous roads. Vision Zero aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2025. The city studied traffic accidents and identified its most dangerous corridors. Those intersections will get most of the city’s attention.
Now the task is to figure out why those intersections, in particular, are dangerous. Many factors contribute to intersection accidents in Los Angeles. The city will be able to address some. Others will require a change in driving behaviors.
Drivers Don’t Like Sitting at Red Lights
Drivers in Los Angeles always seem to be in a hurry. The last thing they want to do is sit still at a red light. Rather than slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass through the intersection, many drivers decide to throw caution to the wind and sail right through.
It seems as though more drivers speed up than slow down when they approach a yellow traffic signal. Many accidents happen because a driver tries to “beat” the light at an intersection. They’re more focused on the light than the traffic around them.
There are Too Many Points of Entry At an Intersection
According to the Federal Highway Administration, traffic accidents become more likely as the number of driveways at an intersection increase. Many intersections in LA are lined with businesses. The entry and exit for these businesses – or driveways – often feed right into the intersection. The more driveways there are at an intersection, the more opportunities there are for collisions. Traffic is funneling in and out of the driveways. Pedestrians are passing by on the sidewalk. Drivers are looking for a store rather than paying attention to bicyclists on their side. Driveways create a situation that’s primed for crashes.
Illegal and Dangerous Turns Contribute to Many Intersection Collisions
When you drive a car in Los Angeles you have to obey local and state traffic laws. You have an obligation to use caution behind the wheel. Unfortunately, too many drivers make illegal and/or unsafe turns. Pedestrians and bicyclists are put in harm’s way when drivers make illegal turns on red, forget to check nearby crosswalks, or simply fail to yield the right of way.
Distracted Pedestrians Increasingly Responsible for Intersection Accidents
Studies have revealed that drivers aren’t the only ones who are increasingly distracted by their phones. Pedestrians are also more focused on their mobile devices than the traffic around them. As a result, more and more pedestrians are walking right into traffic and causing accidents. Some simply don’t see that they have a “don’t walk” signal, while others trip and fall where the sidewalk comes to an end. Either way, pedestrians are partly responsible for the staggering number of car accidents across the city.