Crashes at intersections can involve an on-coming vehicle versus a left-turning vehicle, cross traffic and, on rare occasions, two vehicles turning in the same direction where one strays out of their lane. By far the most common is an on-coming versus left-turning situation. In such a case the main issue is frequently the speed of the on-coming driver and whether the left-turning driver could have, or ought to have, been able to tell whether that vehicle was a hazard before they started their turn.
Not all issues are relevant to every case, but some of the more recurrent issues are:
- Speed of the on-coming driver.
- Did the left-turning driver stop before entering?
- Was there a visibility obstruction (either permanent or another moving vehicle) that prevented the left-turning driver from seeing the on-coming driver when they started their turn?
- What colour was the traffic signal when each party entered?
- Similarly, where was each driver when the traffic signal turned amber and then red?
- Were the seat belts available, used, and would they have mitigated any injuries?
- Was the turn signal used?
We start by calculating the speed of each vehicle. We then do a “time/distance analysis” utilizing software designed for crash reconstruction. This entails backing each vehicle up in time to see how far they were from one another and from important landmarks, such as entering the intersection, as they approached. This is very useful in terms of determining who entered the intersection first. It is also the foundation of further analysis regarding who ran the red light and/or was one vehicle visible when the other started moving, and how avoidable the crash was for the driver.