An intersection is an at-grade junction where two or more roads meet or cross. Intersections may be classified by number of road segments, traffic controls, and/or lane design.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, about 40 percent of all car accidents occur at intersections. This equates to more than 2.3 million intersection accidents, causing 7,000 fatalities and 700,000 injuries each year.
At Davis Law Group, P.S., we recognize the dangers of intersection accidents. If you have questions or concerns about your accident case, don’t hesitate to contact our award-winning team of Seattle car accident lawyers today.
Washington State Intersection Laws
Because so many accidents occur at intersections, it’s important for all drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to understand the applicable rules. A violation of these laws may establish fault, a key in an eventual personal injury case.
According to Washington state law, right-of-way at intersections requires drivers to yield to the person to your right or to whoever approached the intersection first.
- RCW 46.61.180: (1) When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
- RCW 46.61.190: (3) That if such a driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection or junction of roadways, after driving past a yield sign without stopping, such collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of the driver's failure to yield right-of-way.
Types of Intersection Accidents
Wherever two roads intersect, there is a chance of a collision. Whether it’s controlled by a traffic light, stop sign or other type of signal, intersections can be precarious because of the volume of cars passing through them and the unsafe actions they might take.
Here are the most common types of intersection accidents:
- U-turns: A u-turn accident usually occurs when the car or other vehicle making a u-turn is impacted by an oncoming vehicle. Such collisions are typically called u-turn collisions because the vehicle making the u-turn actually travels in a “U” shape direction.
- Running a stop sign or red light: While most drivers follow the rules of red lights and stop signs, those who don’t can end up causing serious injuries and sometimes even fatalities.
- Uncontrolled intersections: This is an intersection where no traffic lights, road markings or signs are used to indicate the right-of-way. They are found in either residential neighborhoods or in rural areas.
- Five-point intersections: An intersection where five roads converge is known as a multi-leg intersection but is commonly referred to as a five-point intersection.
- Turning at an intersection: Making a left or right turn at an intersection can be dangerous. According to the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, turning at an intersection is responsible for more than 23 percent of intersection collisions.
Intersection Collisions Involving Pedestrians
Intersection accidents affect not only drivers, but pedestrians as well. Intersections involve the co-mingling of pedestrians and vehicles, and in large towns or cities, these encounters are frequent.
Pedestrians might have a traffic signal or crosswalk to aid their journey, but oftentimes a driver’s negligent behavior still makes things dangerous. A driver might hit a pedestrian while running a red light or stop sign, due to a failure to yield, speeding in order to make a light prior to turning red, left or right turns made against the crossing signal, crossing without a signal, or drivers or pedestrians who are intoxicated.
Intersection accidents involving pedestrians are typically due to human error — a driver or pedestrian making a mistake — but intersections themselves may cause accidents. For example, if a crosswalk does not allow adequate time for pedestrians to cross, a municipality or agency may be responsible for the accident.
Washington State Accident Lawyers
If you have been involved in an accident at an intersection, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation please feel free to call Seattle-based Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 today.