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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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Hazardous Roadways - Intersections

Certain roadways and portions of the road are more dangerous than others. When driving in these areas, you are at increased risk for being involved in an accident. You should be aware of these conditions and adjust your driving to appropriately mitigate the increased risk.

Intersections

As was indicated earlier, most accidents in urban areas occur at intersections. Because of the danger presented by intersections, it is very important that you approach them with caution and make an extra effort to be aware of what is happening in and around the intersection

It is important that you scan for potential hazards at intersections such as pedestrians, bicycles, persons running red lights, and persons starting left-hand turns. Look for traffic signals, signs, and potential hazards as you approach the intersection.

Accidents at intersections are most frequently caused by drivers disobeying stop signs and red lights, or otherwise violating the right-of- way of other drivers, such as by turning left in front of an approaching vehicle.

It is dangerous to pass another vehicle where someone is likely to enter or cross the road. Such places include intersections, crossroads, railroad crossings, and shopping center entrances.

If you pass in an intersection, your view of people, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or trains is blocked by the vehicle you are passing. Also, a driver turning onto the road into the left lane won’t expect to find you in his or her lane. He or she may not even look your way.

It is dangerous, although not explicitly illegal, to change lanes in an intersection. You could be cited for making an unsafe lane change if, in the opinion of the law enforcement officer, your lane change was hazardous for conditions.

You should scan for traffic controls and prohibitive signs as you approach intersections, so that you are ready to respond before you reach the intersection. You should always obey the signs and signals at controlled intersections, but do not assume that other drivers will do so.

Common traffic controls found at intersections include:

  • flashing and non-flashing signal lights and arrows
  • stop and yield signs
  • signs controlling U turns, left turns, and right turns
  • signs designating specific lanes for left, right, and U turns, and straightthrough traffic
  • signs directing traffic

Right-of-way rules help people drive safely and in an orderly manner. These rules go along with courtesy and common sense. Bicycles, scooters, and pedestrians must obey right-of-way rules too.

Never insist on taking the right-of-way. If another driver does not yield to you when he or she should, forget it. Let the other driver go first. You will help prevent accidents and make driving more pleasant. Do not insist on your right-of-way if it will help to avoid an accident.

You also should not excessively yield your right-of-way, or insist on always letting others go ahead of you. If another driver expects you to take your legal turn, you may delay traffic by stopping or slowing unnecessarily to allow another driver to go ahead of you. It can cause traffic delays and cause other drivers to become angry.

At intersections controlled by signals, do not enter the intersection on a green light until all vehicles and pedestrians are out of the intersection. You should not enter an intersection on a red light, except when making a permitted left or right turn.

You should not enter an intersection on a yellow light (solid or arrow), unless it is unsafe for you to stop. If you can’t stop safely, look out for vehicles that may enter the intersection when the light changes.

Lesson Summary


  

Lesson 9 Quiz


You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

  1. To avoid tailgating, and help avoid a rear-end collision, you should give yourself a gap of how many seconds behind the car in front of you?


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  2. If you are distracted for one second, by a cell phone, passenger, or other distraction, at 30 mph you will travel how far "blindly"?


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  3. Failure to yield is the primary cause of what percentage of fatal and injury collisions?


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  4. Teenage drivers have a total accident rate that is _____ times that of adults:


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  5. If you have a tire blowout:


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