PestSure Blog

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Avoiding Rear End Collisions at Intersections


It seems simple enough. Stop at a red light or stop sign at the intersection and look both ways and you should be fine. If it was only that simple.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average, rear-end collisions account for one-third (33 percent), or around two million, of the six million traffic accidents that occur annually. And rear end collisions often involve injuries.

Navigating an intersection requires a driver’s complete and undivided attention. Their defensive driving skills are needed to safely navigate these controlled traffic zones.

One type of accident that has been on the rise involves a driver rear ending another vehicle at an intersection. The second or third car back in a line of stopped traffic is typically responsible for this collision. This mishap occurs when the first vehicle at the front of the stopped traffic does not move forward when the traffic light turns green.

It is likely that this driver has become distracted while sitting at the light or, at times, this front driver can see some hazard that the cars behind cannot see. The driver following the vehicle that has not responded to the green light then runs into the back of the vehicle that is not moving.

This second driver is assuming that the driver of the other car will move ahead at the appropriate time when the light turns green. The car behind is watching the light and expecting the driver to react. This assumed reaction is what is causing more vehicle accidents.

Missing the Green Light

With the rise in distracted driving, many more drivers are missing the traffic light when it turns green. What this creates is a situation where drivers must bring all their defensive driving skills to bear. When at an intersection behind other vehicles, drivers should always watch the vehicle in front of them in addition to the traffic light.

Do not assume. Again, these types of accidents are on the rise, and this is due to the rise in distracted driving. Many more drivers are missing the opportunity of the green light when at a stoplight. If a driver collides with the back of this vehicle being driven by this distracted driver, you will be found at fault. Work to never assume another driver’s reaction. Keep your space and maintain a diligent watch on the actions of vehicles around you.

Additional intersection safeguards to protect you:

  • Spot cold green lights. A cold green light is any light you did not see turn green.
  • Determine a point of decision. Determine the spot on the road that will be the last point at which you will either brake or continue through the intersection.
  • Do not lead through an intersection. The first car through is often the one that gets hit. Let someone else assume that dangerous task.

Four Rules to Follow to Avoid Read End Collisions

The “keep your eyes moving” habit is particularly important in preventing rear end intersection collisions. Here are four rules to follow to stay safe and avoid accidents:

1. The first rule is, you must recognize the intersection. Not all intersections are formally marked with signs or lights. Anywhere another vehicle can cross your path is an intersection.

2. You must read the intersection including the intentions of others. Reading the intersection means understanding all the hazards you may face at that intersection.

3. Control your speed. Take your foot off the accelerator and cover the brake as you evaluate the intentions of others. If evasive actions such as stopping or swerving are necessary, you will need to have your speed down.

4. Escape with a plan. You must have space to stop or swerve in case the unexpected happens.

PestSure – Your Partner in Safety

Founded in 1980, PestSure is the only insurance and risk management provider that is 100 percent dedicated to the pest management industry. It offers industry professionals a full suite of insurance, risk management, and safety training and education offerings.

PestSure provides insurance, safety and risk management consulting to pest management companies representing $2 billion in revenue, $750 million in payroll and more than 16,500 service vehicles. The program is administered by Alliant Insurance Services.

Call 888.984.3813 or visit our contact page for more information.

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