Why crossroads (and other intersections) are such killers

Fifty per cent of road trauma happens at intersections – and it's easy to see why. It doesn’t happen because of a defect in the rules. It happens because some people fail to comply with their ‘give-way’ obligations, at the same time as somebody else fails to manage the risk that this might – does – happen. Expecting 100 per cent ‘give-way’ compliance by other drivers is the same as living in a fool’s paradise. Watch the video and see what can happen, and how horrible the collateral damage can be, when it all goes horribly wrong.

Who knows why people sometimes fail to stop or give way? People are fallible. They make mistakes. And, let’s be frank, some people are just scumbags who just don’t drive responsibly. Some are drunk, or on drugs, and some are just scumbags.

You have to remember that the only thing stopping cars at intersections is a few red light globes, or some graphics painted on bits of tin bolted on posts. And of course the compliance of the driver approaching them, which is unpleasantly variable.

You’re sharing the road with some people who won't give way properly today. You need to manage this risk. So look both ways before proceeding through intersections when you have notional ‘right of way’ – such as if the light is green for you. Make sure others who could potentially crash into you are honouring their give-way obligations (ie stopping for the red). Be ready to stop or evade. Make it a habit. (It’s one of the benefits of lifting your vision and being generally more situationally aware as you drive.) Do it every time you pass through an intersection.

If you can manage to do this, you cut your risk of being a road trauma victim in half.

safetyJohn CadoganComment