Intersections are dangerous so drivers need to use common sense and common courtesy concerning the right of way says Philadelphia accident attorney Rand Spear.
Vehicle intersections can be dangerous for motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Rand Spear, Philadelphia’s accident attorney, discusses rights of way for drivers and pedestrians in a recent Google+ hangout. He says there are some rules of the road but each instance needs to be looked at individually.
Intersections are a common location for motor vehicle accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2010 that based on 2008 statistics,
- About 40% of an estimated 5,811,000 accidents that occurred in the U.S. were related to intersections.
- Of 787,236 intersection-related crashes, in about 96% of the cases decisions by drivers were the cause while the vehicle or the environment were the cause in less than 3% of these crashes.
The types of mistakes drivers made were,
- Not sufficiently looking up and down the road – 44.1%,
- Making false assumptions of another’s action – 8.4%,
- Taking a turn with an obstructed view – 7.8%,
- Making an illegal maneuver – 6.8%,
- Internal distraction – 5.7%, and
- Misjudging the space between another vehicle or its speed – 5.5%.
“Everyone regardless of whether you have the right of way should be very careful when proceeding through an intersection,” Spear warns. He says that generally the first driver at the intersection has the right of way. “But you have an obligation, a duty, to look to see what’s coming from other streets, other locations, to see if there are pedestrians.” Spear says pedestrians should be allowed to cross before the vehicle continues.
“Only when it’s safe to proceed may you fully proceed through the intersection,” Spear says. He states you must keep your vehicle under control at all times, be observant and able to stop to avoid causing an accident and injuries. “You have to look around, be cautious, see other cars approaching, determine if they’ll be able to stop in time and use your best judgement.”
If two or more vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time Spear says the vehicle on the right generally has the right of way. If a vehicle comes to an intersection from a highway or major roadway onto a smaller one, that does not give that driver the right of way. When you’re entering onto a highway from an on ramp, those already on the highway in the travel lane have the right of way. Those entering the highway need to yield and move over when it’s safe to do so.
Obeying rules and showing fellow drivers common courtesy would make the roads safer, according to Spear. “Common courtesy is a terrific thing, not necessarily the law, but if everyone would extend common courtesy to the other drivers I think we would have a whole lot less accidents. In this day and age everyone is in such a rush to get from Point A to Point B that sometimes we forget that there’s common courtesy on the road.”
If you or a loved one have been injured in a vehicle accident at an intersection or elsewhere, protect your legal rights by contacting Philadelphia accident lawyer Rand Spear’s office at 888-373-4LAW. He helps those injured in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.