Intersection accidents a common risk in North Carolina

Intersections and red-light running is topic three in our seven blog series as we encourage Carolina motorists to get serious about safe driving in 2011. In an effort to be safer drivers, our series focuses on on defensive driving habits for the new year. Look for other topics in the series which include speeding, distracted driving, inclement weather, aggressive driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving.

A continuing debate, do red light cameras improve safety or increase the risk of Carolina car accidents, has Cary residents up in arms.
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Red light cameras started being installed in 2004, as reported by WRAL at intersections that had high crash rates and/or high red light violators. A total of 15 intersections were chosen resulting in over 77,000 tickets being issued.

A consultant was hired to evaluate the results. Data was examined from 3 years prior to the cameras being installed compared to data in each of the 3 years after the cameras were installed. The results were that 12 of the 15 intersections showed a decrease in crashes, only 2 intersections showed an increase.

The intersections of High House Road and Cary Parkway, Walnut Street and Maynard Road and Harrison Avenue and Maynard Road saw 50%, 70% and 80% fewer crashes respectively. The one notable exception was the intersection of High House and Prestonwood Road where rear end crashes quadrupled.

A portion of the $50 fine goes to the Wake County Public School System, as of June 2008, the school system received over $310,000.

Recently WRAL reported another issue regarding red lights, this time a lawsuit was filed by four people who were ticketed for running a red light in Cary. The suit claims the timing of the yellow light at Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Drive is too short.

The statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a steady decline in intersection fatalities in North Carolina over the past 5 years. In 2009, they reached a 5 year low of 199 deaths at intersections.

RoadTrip America’s 70 Rules of Defensive Driving reports 80% of city crashes resulting in an injury or death are at intersections. T-bone accidents are the most common at intersections. And during the 4 seconds that the light is changing is the most dangerous time to be in the intersection. Look at other rules for red lights and intersection safety.

When approaching a controlled intersection (one’s with traffic signs and lights) remember these tips:

-Even though you have the green light always be alert.

-Use extreme caution when going through a yellow light. A yellow light means stop, but if you can’t stop safely proceed through carefully.

-A yield sign doesn’t mean stop. It means slow down and proceed slowly, stop only if you have to.

-Never block an intersection. Don’t enter the intersection unless you can make it all the way across.

-At a four way stop sign the driver to the right always goes first.

If you or someone you love have been injured in a car accident in North Carolina, count on the Law Offices of Lee & Smith for expert advice. Call for a free initial consultation at 800-887-1965.

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