Have you been involved in an accident at an intersection in Philadelphia? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. The experienced car accident attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC will help you fight to maximize your recovery. Give our law office a call today to arrange a free consultation and learn more about your legal options and rights.
Red and Yellow Light Accidents Are Quite Common
Two out of every five traffic accidents in the United States happens at or near an intersection. That’s 40 percent of all motor vehicle collisions. When you think about it, that’s really not too surprising. Intersections have a lot going on. They’re literally a crossroads. All it takes is for one person to get distracted or drive aggressively for an accident to occur.
Many of these intersection accidents happen when a traffic signal is yellow or red. To you, a yellow light might mean that you should slow down. To others, a yellow light might have the opposite effect, prompting them to floor it and race through the intersection before the light turns red.
Many times, there’s simply not enough time for a driver to make it through an intersection before a light turns from yellow to red. As a result, collisions happen quite frequently, especially when other drivers hit the gas as soon as their light turns green.
Pennsylvania Intersection Accident Statistics
Intersection accidents aren’t just common in Pennsylvania – they’re deadly. Every year, hundreds of people are involved in fatal intersection collisions across the state. The total number of fatal accidents has remained fairly consistent over the past few years:
- 2014: 257 fatalities
- 2015: 241 fatalities
- 2016: 272 fatalities
- 2017: 252 fatalities
- 2018: 268 fatalities.
That’s between 22 and 23 fatal intersection accidents in Pennsylvania every single month. So, whatever efforts the state has made to make intersections safer clearly haven’t worked.
Philadelphia Has Some of the State’s Most Dangerous Intersections
Philadelphia has a lot of dangerous corridors. In fact, four of the state’s most dangerous stretches of road are right here in Philly. Two intersections even rank among the most dangerous in the nation. It might not be surprising to learn that these intersections can be found along Roosevelt Avenue, often referred to as the “Boulevard of Death.”
The most dangerous intersections and stretches of road in Philadelphia include;
- Roosevelt Boulevard and Large Street
- Grant Ave and Roosevelt Boulevard
- Red Lion Road and Roosevelt Boulevard
- N. Broad Street and Vine Street
- Schuylkill Expressway
- Delaware Expressway
- Grays Ave and S 49th Street, and
- Aramingo Ave and E Lehigh Ave.
One explanation for the surge in accidents at intersections in Philadelphia might be due to the fact that not all drivers are fully aware of their obligations when approaching a crossroads.
Driver Responsibilities at Intersections in Philadelphia
What exactly are your responsibilities as a driver when you’re approaching an intersection that has a red or yellow traffic signal? Here’s what Philadelphia law says.
Steady Red Light: All motorists (and bicyclists and pedestrians, too) have to come to a complete stop when approaching a steady red light. You can only proceed through the intersection when the light turns green.
Right Turn on Red: Motorists may execute a right-hand turn when a traffic signal is red as long as there is no sign specifically prohibiting it. The turn can be performed after the motorist has come to a complete stop and determined that turning would not create a hazard.
Steady Yellow Light: Pennsylvania state law explains that you should prepare to stop your vehicle – not speed up – if you see a steady yellow light when approaching an intersection. You can continue to move through an intersection if you’re already in the intersection or if you can’t stop your car safely.
Steady Green Light: When a light is green, you can proceed straight through an intersection. If you want to make a left-hand turn, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic and then turn once the coast is clear. If you want to make a right-hand turn, you must yield the right of way to bicyclists and pedestrians who are crossing the street.
Flashing Lights: You might encounter a flashing red light, a flashing yellow light, or a flashing yellow arrow. A flashing red light functions like a stop sign, so you must come to a complete stop before proceeding through an intersection. A flashing yellow light means that you must slow down and move through an intersection with caution. A flashing yellow arrow means that you can turn, but must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic who are approaching a green signal.
The general rule of thumb is to use caution and yield the right of way. Drivers who speed up to “beat” a red or yellow light aren’t embracing these principles. If you get into an accident with a driver who was a bit too aggressive at an intersection, you might be able to hold them accountable for your injuries.
Causes of Red and Yellow Intersection Accidents in Philadelphia
Intersections have a lot of moving parts. Whenever someone fails to use the utmost care when navigating through one of these crossroads, accidents are bound to happen. Here are some of the most common causes of red and yellow light accidents in Philadelphia, PA:
Speeding Up to “Beat” the Light: Drivers are often in a rush in Philadelphia. The last thing they want to do is get caught at a light after they’ve already been sitting in traffic on I-95 or the Schuylkill Expressway. So, when they see a light turn yellow, they speed up to race through the intersection and beat the light. However, there’s not really a way to tell how long a signal will be yellow before it turns red.
Drivers Hitting the Gas as Soon as a Light is Green: Many drivers are eager to get on with their commute as soon as a signal turns from red to green. So, they’ll hit the gas and begin to move through an intersection the moment their light changes. This can be really dangerous, especially if another driver blocking the box because they’re trying to beat a red light at the same intersection.
Distracted Drivers: Accidents are much more likely to happen when drivers aren’t paying attention. A driver might sail through an intersection against a red light, causing a catastrophic collision. Or, you might get rear-ended when you don’t realize that a light has turned green because you were texting or checking your email.
California Rolls: This occurs when a driver doesn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign or traffic signal, but rather rolls through slowly and continues on their way. This happens fairly often when drivers want to make a turn when their light is red. However, this approach does not allow the motorist to fully gauge the situation and determine if it’s safe to move forward.
Unsafe Left Turns: You can make a left-hand turn at an intersection in Philadelphia under many different circumstances. However, any time you make a left-hand turn across lanes of oncoming traffic you have to make sure that you do not create a hazardous situation. You must not only yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, but also to approaching vehicles. Many accidents happen when drivers fail to time a turn properly and misjudge how much time they have to make it across a road safely.
Who’s Liable For Red and Yellow Light Accidents in Philadelphia?
In theory, anyone who contributes to an intersection accident in Philadelphia can be liable for resulting injuries or harm. You might be able to recover compensation from:
- A driver who decided to speed up, rather than slow down, when approaching a yellow traffic signal
- A driver who failed to yield the right of way while executing a turn at an intersection
- A driver who got stuck in an intersection and blocked the box after ignoring a yellow light
- A pedestrian or bicyclist who crossed the street improperly against a red light
- A driver who rolled through a traffic signal, rather than coming to a complete stop, or
- A driver who ran a red light because they were distracted.
Sometimes accidents happen at Philadelphia intersections because the traffic signals are down or aren’t working properly. In these situations, you could also have a legitimate claim for damages against the city, Philadelphia County, or the state.
Call Our Philadelphia Red and Yellow Light Accident Lawyers Today
Intersection accidents are really common in Philadelphia. Sadly, many of these collisions happen because drivers aren’t paying attention or are too aggressive behind the wheel. If you’ve been injured because of another driver’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Give Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC a call today to find out how our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys might be able to help you with your injury claim. Your first consultation is free, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.