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Legal Blog

How Can Cities Make Safer Intersections?

Creating safer intersections relies on creating more controlled environments. Without any controls, both motorists and pedestrians can be unsure of how to behave. When do pedestrians walk? When do vehicles have the right of way? Often times, motorists and pedestrians act in unexpected ways. The motorists who can see pedestrians waiting to cross the road cannot accurately predicate what the pedestrians will do and vice versa.

If you were injured in a car accident at an uncontrolled intersection, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney about your rights. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we are here to investigate what happened and explain your legal options. If the driver is at fault, then you may have a valid personal injury claim through which you can pursue compensation for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. For more information, contact a Houston car accident lawyer today for a free consultation at (281) 283-8500.

Ways to Enhance Control and Create Safer Intersections

Creating more controlled intersections decreases ambiguity and improves predictability for both motorists and pedestrians. There are numerous ways to do this at intersections, including:

  • Install modern traffic signals: One of the best ways to make an intersection safe is to add a stop light. Modern stop lights are much more effective than models installed decades ago. Certain traffic light models utilize sensors to alter the timing based on traffic density and/or the time of day. Sensors can also predict when pedestrians are present and ensure they receive the time they need.
  • Use raised crossing: At intersections where a traffic signal is not appropriate, municipalities may install raised crossings, also called speed tables. This offers two obvious benefits. Vehicles must slow down when they cross them, as these are essentially large speed bumps. It also places pedestrians higher up, and they are more visible.
  • Utilize roundabouts: Another option for intersections that do not benefit from a stop light is to install a roundabout. These can drastically reduce vehicle speeds, and therefore, reduce accidents.
  • Build in bike lanes: Cyclists do their best to move with traffic and avoid accidents. However, many motorists are unsure of how to safely share the road. A solution is to create designated bike lanes on common routes. These lanes can be even more efficient by having their own stop and go signals.
  • Let pedestrians go first: In addition to installing traffic lights with pedestrian signals, municipalities can set the system to allow pedestrians to walk first, before the light changes. This gives people time to cross the road before vehicles turn left and right and reduces the number of time pedestrians and motorists need the same space at the same time.
  • Let pedestrians walk all at once: The Barnes Dance, named after traffic engineer Henry Barnes, creates a zone in which all traffic is stopped and pedestrians can walk in any direction including diagonally.
  • Utilize left-turn arrows: Left turns are one of the common causes of vehicle-pedestrian accidents. A simple way to prevent them is to install protected left turns. Vehicles should have a green light to turn left while oncoming traffic has a red light.
  • Design roads with neckdowns: One way to protect pedestrians is to limit how much they are exposed to traffic. One way to do this is to create neckdowns, or bump outs, in which the number of lanes is reduced at the intersection. For instance, a road may have two lanes each way, yet decrease to one lane each way at the intersection. It also has the added benefit of slowing traffic down.
  • Design protected intersections: Municipalities can design protected intersections, which have a space where pedestrians and cyclists can wait that is not open to traffic.

Were You Injured in a Car Accident? Call a Houston Car Accident Attorney

As a pedestrian, you often have the right of way. Unfortunately, many vehicles fail to abide by the rules of the road, and when that happens, their vehicle’s weight and speed can cause you significant injuries. Our car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are here to investigate the situation, advise you of your rights, and guide you through the process of pursuing compensation. We will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve under the law through the insurance claims process or a personal injury lawsuit.

To learn more, contact us online or call (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.