This is probably not news to anyone, but traffic accidents happen more frequently at intersections than just about anywhere else. It is also among the most dangerous types of collisions as cars tend to be traveling faster when intersection car accidents strike. In this article, we’ll discuss the legal concept of liability and the causes of car accidents that occur at intersections.

Causes of Intersection Car Accidents

Federal Highway Administration records show that roughly half of all fatal accidents happen at intersections. That’s a lot considering that intersection traffic tends to travel a lot slower than highway traffic. Nonetheless, certain factors come together to make intersection accidents among the most dangerous.

Types of Intersection Accidents


  • Crossing collisions. Crossing collisions occur when one vehicle is attempting to turn left onto a new street and is struck by another vehicle trying to beat the yellow light. 


  • T-bone accidents. T-bone accidents occur when one car crashes into the side of another. These accidents can be quite dangerous as the car on the receiving end tends to absorb the majority of the impact. 


  • Sideswipe accidents. Sideswipe accidents occur as one car attempts to avoid another by turning away or streets that have two-lane turns.


  • Pedestrian/bicycle accidents. Pedestrians and cyclists are also in danger at large intersections. 

Causes of Intersection Accidents


  • Speeding or reckless driving,
  • Failure to yield the right of way, running red lights or stop signs,
  • Distracted driving, texting while driving, using a cellphone while driving,
  • Drunk driving or drugged driving,
  • Bad road conditions such as ice, snow, or rain,
  • Following too closely, and
  • Poor vision or poor lighting.


Of these, the most common causes of intersection accidents are moving violations (like speeding or failing to yield the right of way), distracted driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Who’s to Blame in an Intersection Car Accident?

In the majority of situations, fault will be easy to determine at an intersection. This is because one driver will have violated an obvious traffic law that ultimately caused the car accident to occur. Other factors, such as dangerous road conditions (including poorly designed roads), can contribute to an accident. But for the most part, you have one individual who tried to run a red light while another vehicle was attempting to turn left, for example.


Examples of who is to blame in a car accident include:


  • The government. While this is rare, there are some intersections that have outlived their traffic-control methods. For instance, a four-way stop may have been adequate for decades, but now that there are more cars on the road, it’s causing too many accidents. You can sue the government for failing to update the intersection with modern traffic signals, but it’s an uphill battle.


  • The other driver or you. Nine times out of ten one or the other driver involved in an accident is responsible for the accident. They failed to signal while changing lanes, tried to beat a yellow light by speeding through, or a car making a left-hand turn failed to check for oncoming traffic. If the other driver is responsible for the accident, you can file a claim on their insurance policy and recover damages.



  • A third party. In some cases, though rarely, a third party could have caused the accident. This occurs most frequently when a truck loses some of their cargo creating confusion. Additionally, if a defective tire blows, that can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle causing an accident. 



Proving the other party is liable, however, requires a lot of work. You will need to contact witnesses, get the police report, obtain security footage, and then file your claim with the other driver’s insurance policy. Much of this will boil down to which driver had the right of way. While you can file a claim against the other driver’s policy yourself, intersection car accidents can be complex. The attorneys at Brylak Law can help you file your claim and recover damages from the at-fault driver.