Richmond is a beautiful and vibrant city. However, according to a study by Insurify, Virginia is one of the most dangerous states for drivers. According to 2019 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, there are 8,405,302 registered vehicles in Virginia. In 2019, there were an estimated 128,172 crashes, involving 827 fatalities and 65,708 injuries. Driving in the Richmond area is particularly risky. There are a high number of drivers with driving violations, including speeding tickets, DUI violations, and at-fault accidents. In Chesterfield County, there were 5,513 crashes, involving 22 fatalities and 2508 injuries. In Richmond County, data shows 97 crashes, with 5 fatalities and 61 injuries.
Traffic accidents happen everywhere, but statistics show that more accidents happen on certain roads and at certain intersections. Statistics show that over 50 percent of fatal and injury crashes occur at or close to intersections, amounting to approximately 2.5 million intersection accidents across the country every year. Many rear-end crashes, side-impact accidents, or head-on collisions happen in intersections. These accidents often cause serious injuries, such as head or spinal injuries, as well as fatalities.
Intersections tend to be busy, dangerous places. Safely navigating an intersection is complex and risky for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. It is impossible to prevent every traffic accident, but understanding the dangers of certain intersections may help drivers avoid some crashes. In some cases, the government may be responsible for crashes that happen in intersections due to poor road design or maintenance. In many cases, driver negligence cause intersection crashes. Understanding the dangers that intersections pose can help you avoid these dangers and thus avoid an accident.
An intersection is a place where two or more roads meet, join, or cross. In these places on the road, vehicles and people moving in various directions come together. There are many encounters between one vehicle and another, a vehicle and a pedestrian, or a vehicle and a bicycle. These accidents often have serious or fatal consequences.
Dangerous intersections in Richmond
As a result of a high volume of vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, traffic congestion is a serious problem in Richmond. When driving, it is difficult to quickly recognize the danger of a particular intersection. It is important to drive safely at all times because other drivers may be driving badly or not paying attention. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reported five of the most dangerous intersections in the area for 2017. Those include the following:
360 and Commonwealth Center Parkway: 32 crashes
West Broad Street and East Parham Road: 26 crashes
Hermitage Road and Laburnum Avenue: 25 crashes
Belvidere Avenue and Clay Street: 19 crashes
Commerce Road and Hull Street: 19 crashes
Other problem intersections as indicated by traffic reports in recent years include heavily trafficked areas such as the Midlothian Turnpike and Turner Road in Chesterfield County, Courthouse Rd. and Hull Street Rd, also in Chesterfield County, Otterdale Rd. and Hull Street Rd, Hull Street Rd. and Hey Rd., in the city of Richmond, Hull Street Rd. and Winterpock Rd. and Glenside Dr. and W. Broad St.
Common factors that contribute to intersection collisions
What exactly is it about these intersections and others that make them so hazardous? There are a variety of factors that can increase the accident risk at an intersection, including:
A high volume of traffic. A greater number of vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists increases the risk of an intersection accident. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the more driveways that exist at an intersection, the greater the risk of an accident. At many intersections in Richmond, the entrances or exits for various businesses feed into the intersection. Drivers may be looking for a business and fail to see a pedestrian passing on the sidewalk.
Higher numbers of lanes of traffic causing potential confusion, particularly when making turns
No turning lanes. Making a turn at an intersection requires focus, clarity, and good judgment. Having clearly marked turn lanes at an intersection helps avoid confusion for drivers attempting a turn.
The use of one-way streets
Inadequate traffic signs and signals. Traffic signs may be unclear or unreadable. Traffic signals can malfunction. Sometimes, appropriate signs and signals are missing altogether, making accidents much more likely.
Poorly placed or difficult to see signage indicating traffic directions
Improperly timed stoplights
Buildings, trees, inadequate lighting, or foggy conditions may make it difficult for a driver to see oncoming traffic at an intersection.
Driver error. Drivers may exercise poor judgment for any number of reasons. Drugs or alcohol can impair a driver’s judgment. Drivers may be distracted by cell phones, fatigued, or simply not focused on their driving. They may be driving aggressively, too fast, following too closely, or otherwise negligent. Intersections are particularly dangerous places to encounter such a driver. Therefore, everyone should take extra care when approaching or entering an intersection.
Many pedestrians and bicyclists are injured when drivers make illegal or unsafe turns, forget to check crosswalks, or do not yield the right of way.
Unexpected hazards. When driving, anything can happen and often does. It is best to approach an intersection with caution and be prepared for anything.
Changes in the road, such as multi-lane intersections that feed into reduced lane roads, sometimes confuse drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists. Some intersections do not meet perpendicularly. Bus stops and train crossings complicate traffic and confuse drivers. Intersections that cross a divided highway and do not have traffic lights are risky. Intersections that appear suddenly after sharp curves or steep hills are common accident sites. Drivers usually want to hurry through a red light. In fact, when approaching a yellow traffic signal, more drivers speed up than slow down because they are trying to “beat” the light at an intersection.
Using evidence to determine fault
When drivers approach an intersection, they may be unclear about who has the right of way and who should yield. There are many possible sources of evidence that may indicate who was totally or partially at fault. If you are seeking compensation for an accident, your attorney will wish to obtain and preserve valuable evidence, such as:
CC-TV footage from local businesses;
Cell phone videos and photos of the scene;
Vehicle maintenance records;
Cell phone and social media records;
Vehicle black-box records, and
Blood alcohol and drug tests.
While traffic signs, signals, and the rules of the road help make intersections as safe as possible, intersections remain one of the most hazardous locations for anyone traveling on the road. All states have statutes of limitations, which are time limits for filing lawsuits. These time limits vary by state and by the area of law. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years from the date of your accident.
Being in an accident is traumatizing, and your injuries may change your life forever. If you or a loved one has been injured in an intersection accident, it is important to understand your legal rights. If another party is responsible for the accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. An experienced, dedicated attorney has the skills, resources, and compassion to evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process. For more information or a free consultation, call the personal injury attorneys at The Joel Bieber Law Firm at 1-866-891-7225, or contact us online as soon as possible.