Where roadways and drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists intersect, some conflict is inevitable. Over 27,000 car accidents occurred at intersections in Utah in 2021; nearly half of those accidents resulted in injury or death. Even drivers who pay careful attention to the road and practice consistent defensive driving may be involved in an auto accident at an intersection. Learn which intersections in our great state require you to be extra vigilant as you travel.
Why Some Intersections Are More Dangerous Than Others
Engineers, safety advocates and government agencies work hard to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on our nation’s roadways. In Utah, the Department of Highway Safety tracks car crash data, including intersection accidents, to increase awareness and push for better driving habits for Utah’s citizens. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration suggests that 90% of accidents at intersections result from driver error, so being aware of the potential dangers at intersections helps you drive defensively and may prevent accidents.
Traditional Signalized Intersections
Signalized intersections are the most familiar to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. They typically offer the most direct path across traffic for cyclists and pedestrians, and many have specific traffic signal phases for those road users. On the other hand, signalized intersections may pose risks due to the following:
- Increased conflict points at the main intersection for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
- Additional turn lanes increase the crossing distance and reduce the number of refuge points for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- More turning movements lead to longer traffic signal times, additional complexity and longer wait times for everyone.
Some intersections require drivers to make additional decisions as they approach the crossroads or interact with other drivers. Intersections without traffic lights are “unsignalized” and come in three primary varieties:
- Uncontrolled: In rural or residential areas on very low-volume roads, uncontrolled intersections have no traffic signals or regulatory signs.
- Stop–Controlled: These intersections have one or more of the approaches to the intersection controlled with a stop sign. The two most common versions are the all-way stop and the minor-road stop.
- Yield–Controlled: Like stop-sign-controlled intersections, yield-controlled intersections have at least one approach controlled by a yield sign.
9 Most Dangerous Intersections in Utah
Whether heading up into the mountains for a family ski trip or just commuting to work in the city, you encounter intersections of multiple types with varying degrees of risk. While Salt Lake City intersections tend to present the highest level of risk, other areas certainly have their fair share of hazardous crossroads. Intersections pose different dangers for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists; here are the three most perilous for each type of roadway user.
Pedestrians are the least-protected road users and take the lion’s share of the risk when attempting to cross an intersection. While distracted walking accounts for some pedestrian strikes, many accidents involving pedestrians result from inattentive or hurrying drivers or inadequate traffic signaling. Intersections with the dubious honor of a high number of pedestrian-involved accidents include:
- Redwood Road and 4100 South, on the border of Taylorsville and West Valley City
- State Street and 4500 South in Murray
- 7800 South and 700 East in Sandy
Although Utah typically ranks low in injuries and fatalities for cyclists, intersections remain dangerous places. The three intersections listed here pose the highest risk for cyclists, with two on college campuses and one in a downtown area:
- 1700 South and State Street in Salt Lake City
- Washing Boulevard and 20th Street in Ogden
- East 400 North & South Main Street in Logan
Traffic congestion, distracted driving, complicated or inefficient traffic flow and inexperienced drivers are just a few potential variables in intersection accidents. Many of the most hazardous roads in Utah are in Salt Lake City, where a high volume of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists increase the odds of an accident. Intersections with the highest number of accidents include:
- State Street at 4500 South in Murray
- Redwood Road at 3500 South and also at 4100 South, both on the border of Taylorsville and West Valley City
- 5400/5300 South at Commerce Drive near I-15 and at 2700 West in Salt Lake City
Steps To Take After an Accident in an Intersection
If you’re involved in an accident at an intersection, the health and safety of you and your passengers are your top priorities. Before taking any other steps, check yourself and your passengers for visible injuries or internal pain. Call 911 immediately, even if you don’t see any injuries! The dispatcher will send police and emergency medical personnel to assist you and keep you safe.
Once you and your passengers are safe and under the care of medical professionals (if necessary), begin gathering the following information for any insurance and legal claims you may make:
- Summarize the sequence of events for responding police officers.
- Obtain contact and insurance information from other parties involved in the accident.
- Take photos of vehicle damage and the scene.
- Document any injuries.
- Gather the contact information of any witnesses.
No-Fault Insurance Claims and PIP
Utah is a no-fault state, meaning drivers must have a minimum level of coverage for accidents. No matter which party bears responsibility, your no-fault insurance covers your property damage when you’re involved in an accident. No-fault policies in Utah also include personal injury protection benefits, which cover any medical expenses you incur up to your policy limits.
However, if your medical or lost wages expenses exceed your PIP benefits, you may be eligible for excess wage or medical benefits from a third-party insurer. The attorneys at Siegfried and Jensen help you negotiate with the insurance company for a fair and reasonable settlement.
If your legal team determines that the insurer’s settlement offer is significantly less than your case is worth, you may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. That’s where Siegfried and Jensen shine: they manage the paperwork, investigations, communication and negotiations at every stage of the settlement and lawsuit processes. Contact Siegfried and Jensen for a free, no-obligation case review and renewed peace of mind.