If you’ve ever had one of those heart-stopping moments when a car zooms past you on the red just as you’re beginning to pull out, you know how scary Atlanta intersections can be. With multiple lanes, distracted drivers and, let’s face it, traffic so bad people are desperate to at least make it to the next light, intersections are hubs for crashes.
A few years back, Channel 2 looked at the worst intersections in the metro area. While the reporter expected in-town intersections to be the worst, only two were ITP: Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive, which ranked No. 10, and Briarcliff Road and North Druid Hills, which came in at No. 9. The top intersection for crashes was Memorial Drive and N. Hairston Road, located in Stone Mountain, followed by other major intersections in areas like Lithonia, Kennesaw and Norcross.
If there’s one lesson to take from the list, it’s that dangerous intersections are everywhere, whether you’re driving through the city’s old, narrow streets—roads never designed to handle the volume of traffic they do—or on large, suburban roads. The best you can do is take some extra precautions and follow these tips to make your drive a little safer.
Minimize your own distractions anytime you’re on the road, but especially as you approach an intersection. Now is not the time to compose a voice text, change the station or check your bag. As you head toward an intersection, get a quick picture of what everyone around you is doing—who’s going, who’s stopping, who’s trying to make a turn. Don’t forget to look for bicyclists or pedestrians. If the light is turning green, don’t automatically go. Make sure the cars on the cross street have actually stopped before you enter the intersection. If the light is turning yellow, don’t floor it. Consider your speed and the other cars around you as you slow down and proceed or stop with caution.
Stay in your lane.
Don’t add a lane change to the potential chaos of an intersection. Get in the lane you want before you approach, not right before, not right after and certainly not as you’re driving through (that’s illegal). Use your signals to let everyone know where you’re headed.
Leave some room.
Don’t tailgate—it’s never a great idea, but especially not as you approach an intersection. The driver in front of you might slow for a yellow light, stop for a pedestrian you can’t see or suddenly brake for a car making a turn. Try to keep a car length of space in between you. If the vehicle in front of you is a large truck or bus, hang back as you approach the intersection instead of just following along. Otherwise, it may be difficult to see that the light has changed.
Be careful when turning.
If you’re planning to make a right on red, be sure there’s no signage stating it’s not allowed. Come to a complete stop, then check to make sure there are no cars coming in any direction (including cars on the opposite side of the road that may have a left turn signal). Finally, ensure there aren’t pedestrians with the right of way. Left turns often pose even more risk, especially when there’s no turning lane or turn signal. Don’t linger in the middle of the intersection, and consider your priorities (plus the stress of being at the front of a line of honking cars). It’s tough, but there are some left turns in Atlanta that just won’t work at certain times of day.
Atlanta car accident attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a crash, you need an Atlanta car accident attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation at our office.