Five Times More Dangerous? Deadly Five-Point Intersection Accidents in Washington State
An intersection where five roads converge is known as a multi-leg intersection but is commonly referred to as a five-point intersection. Five-way intersections or five-way stops are far less common than other types of intersections but still exist in urban areas with non-rectangular city blocks. Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma all have 5-way intersections.
Motor vehicle collisions are common at 5-way intersections. Because 5-point road conversion is so unusual, drivers often forget the rules of the road or simply get confused and crashes occur. Accidents at multi-leg intersections frequently involve several vehicles (three or more cars) and head-on collisions, side-impact crashes, and t-bone style impacts are common.
When multiple cars are involved in a crash at a confusing intersection injuries can be very severe such as: broken bones, head and brain injuries, back and neck injuries, internal bleeding and even death.
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Confusion at Multi-Point Intersections Causes Car Accidents: Five-Point Intersections in Seattle
Here are just a few five-point intersections in the Seattle Area:
- Five Corners – Intersection of Union Bay Place NE, Mary Gates Boulevard, NE 45th Street, 35th Avenue NE and Sandpoint Way.
- Five Points – In lower Queen Anne/Belltown neighborhood intersection 5th, Cedar and Denny Way.
- Greenlake Five Points - Intersection of Washington 99 (Aurora Avenue) and North 83rd Street.
- Arlington Five Points – Intersection of Old Lee Highway, Old Dominion Drive, North Quincy Street and Military Road.
- West Seattle Five Points – Intersection of Erskine Way SW, SW Edmunds St and California Avenue SW'
- Five Points Tacoma – Intersection of Division Avenue, St. Helen’s Avenue and Tacoma Avenue South in Tacoma
Who has right-of-way at a five-point intersection or five-way stop?
According to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), all vehicles must follow right-of-way rules to safely cross intersections. The base rule is “ First to Stop = First to Go” which means that the first vehicle at the intersection goes through the intersection first. If base rule doesn’t apply then the rule is “Farthest Right Goes First.” For example, when two vehicles get to the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first; it has the right-of-way. If neither the base rule or furthest right rule apply then one should observe the “Straight Traffic Goes First” rule which means that when two vehicles are directly across from each other, and one is turning left, the one that is going straight goes first. However, even if you have the right-of-way, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable or that your safety is threatened, let the other traffic go ahead. This is known as the “ When in Doubt, Bail Out” which trumps all rules.
Should I Hire an Attorney for a Complex Multi-Leg Intersection Accident?
Accidents at five-point intersections often involve multiple vehicles, severe impacts, serious damage to the vehicles and often life-threatening injuries or death to the accident victims. Multiple vehicles will mean multiple insurance companies, multiple insurance adjustors, and complex settlement negotiations. To get fair compensation for injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages accident victims or their families may want to seek legal assistance from a personal injury attorney with expertise and experience handling complex accident cases.