William W. Hurst
Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC
50 S. Meridian St., Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Last year the Indianapolis Police department released a report citing the most dangerous intersections in Indianapolis. This article will tell you where these dangerous intersections are, give you some statistics on intersection car accidents, describe what makes an intersection dangerous, and provide a suggested solution for the dangers of Intersections.
The map below shows where the most dangerous intersections in Indianapolis are. For a better look expand the map using the “view larger map” button in the top right. A list of the intersections is included below.
One NHTSA study that looked at crash factors in Intersection related accidents stated that roughly 40% of all traffic accidents occur at intersections. If this statistic still holds true today, roughly 2,300,000 accidents occur at intersections each year. What’s even scarier is that according to this another NHTSA study which was conducted in 2013, 26% of all car accident fatalities occurred at intersections.
The First study cited looked at 787,236 total intersection car crashes and of those, 756,570 were caused by drivers. Of the 756,570 intersection-related crashes with driver-attributed critical reasons, the most frequent critical reasons were inadequate surveillance (44.1%), followed by false assumption of other’s action (8.4%), turned with obstructed view (7.8%), illegal maneuver (6.8%), internal distraction (5.7%), and misjudgment of gap or other’s speed (5.5%). Things like inadequate surveillance, false assumption of other’s actions, turning with an obstructed view, and misjudgment of gap or other’s speed are causes only seen at intersection accidents. Later, in the solutions section, we will discuss how these types of things could be remedied.
There are many things that can make an intersection unsafe, both for drivers and pedestrians/bicyclists. This list highlights a few of the most prolific problems with intersections:
Complex Traffic Signals: As this article about Complex Traffic Signals being dangerous points out, adding more complexity to an intersection can be a bad thing. At many intersections you have bike lanes to the right of traffic, pedestrians crossing in front of left turning vehicles, oncoming and cross traffic, and the vehicles driving next to you look out for. This is already a difficult scenario, add a few “no turn right on red” signs that are blinking, “turn on arrow only” signs, and others and you add even more confusion to the scenario. This makes it incredibly difficult to navigate an already busy intersection.
Too Many Crossing Roads: Everyone know of roads that seem to run diagonal to the usual block scheme, like Massachusetts Avenue downtown. The problem with these road is they create intersections where traffic is coming from six different directions. People who aren’t used to these intersections may see a green light slightly off to their left and believe it’s theirs or make countless other mistakes. Additionally, these intersections tend to have complex traffic signals because of all the cross traffic.
Blind Turns: We’ve all pulled up to an intersection with a building right next to it and crept up to see around the building. This in itself is dangerous because you may have to pull slightly out into the road to actually see, putting you in danger of being hit from the side. On top of that, many people will turn with an obstructed view and just chance it.
As stated above things like inadequate surveillance, false assumption of other’s actions, turning with an obstructed view, and misjudgment of gap or other’s speed are causes only seen at intersection accidents. So how can all these issues be remedies you ask? By replacing intersections with roundabouts. Roundabouts have proven time and time again to be safer than intersections. Just look at Carmel, IN. “In Carmel, where roundabouts have replaced signals or stop signs at intersections, the number of injury accidents has been reduced by about 80 percent and the number of accidents overall by about 40 percent.” To back this claim up, consider the following:
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, when speaking about the safety value of roundabouts said “roundabouts REDUCE the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections.”
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