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Intersections are very dangerous places. According to the NHTSA, nearly 40% of crashes occur at intersections, and 96% of these are due to driver error. How should you approach an intersection?

First, remember to search the intersection, both on approach and when entering. When the signal turns green, count 3 seconds before starting through an intersection. Watch for cross traffic by using your peripheral vision and turning your head from side to side prior to entering the intersection. This will help you avoid a collision caused by another driver running a red light.

In city driving, if possible, search two or three intersections ahead, or as far as you can see. Note vehicle traffic flow, pedestrians, bicycles, and signal timing. Don’t be caught off guard by a signal change. If a pedestrian signal is flashing “DON’T WALK,” that means that the signal is about to change. Searching ahead allows you to spot potential problems ahead of time, helping you to avoid them.

In approaching an intersection where cross traffic is controlled by a stop or yield sign, be prepared for the driver who might not see the sign, or see you coming. Keep your speed under control and be prepared to stop if necessary. Defensive driving means being aware to avoid the mistakes of other drivers.

At four-way stops, the first car to arrive has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time and are side-by-side, the vehicle furthest to the right has the right of way. If you are head-to-head with another vehicle, where one is turning and one is going straight, the one going straight has the right of way. If two vehicles are located head-to-head, arriving at the same time, and one is turning right while the other is turning left, the vehicle turning right has the right of way.



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