Traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities are common occurrences in Kentucky in general. Of the worst areas for accidents in Kentucky, Louisville came in twelfth in a study done by the University of Kentucky that analyzed five years worth of data. Twelfth may not seem like such a big deal when you’re talking about the biggest city in the commonwealth. Yet, in 2015 alone, 745 people died on Kentucky roadways. That’s 745 persons who are dearly missed by spouses, children, parents, and friends. And that number is up from 665 in 2014, which is an enormous increase percentage wise: a full 12 percent year-over-year.
Intersection accidents in Kentucky accounted for slightly more than one-fourth (25.4%) of all accidents in 2014. Almost one in six of those accidents (16.3%) resulted in fatalities. Clearly, we have a problem in Louisville with intersection accidents, injuries, and fatalities. On roads from Spaghetti Junction to the Dixie “Die-Way,” drivers manage to get into everything from fender-benders to full-on crashes much too often.
Typical Causes and Varieties of Intersection Accidents
Just a few varieties of accident types are usually implicated in intersection crashes:
- Rear-end crashes, where both vehicles are traveling straight
- Angle collisions, where both vehicles are traveling straight
- Angle collisions, where one vehicle is turning left.
The last category often results in a “T-bone” accident, meaning an accident where one vehicle hits another perpendicularly. More than half of all intersection accidents involve one car turning left. A lack of attention, driver impairment, or drowsiness can result in miscalculating how much time and space you truly have when it comes to clearing the intersection.
Rear-end crashes are another common kind of intersection accident. Sudden stops, broken taillights or turn signals, or a lack of attention paid to traffic conditions in the intersection can end in tragedy.
Most Hazardous Intersections and Roadways in Louisville
There are a number of intersections and roads in Louisville that are problematic. Some of the top areas for accidents and injuries, from 1/1/15 through 8/20/16, according to Kentucky State Police (KSP) accident data, are:
- Fern Valley & Jefferson: 14 injuries
- Broadway & Roy Wilkins: 14 injuries
- Muhammed Ali & Roy Wilkins: 15 injuries.
Need more places to be wary of? Each of the intersections below experienced at least eight accidents and numerous injuries from 1/1/15 through 8/20/16. Some of these intersections had close to 100 accidents over the time period, although injuries may not have been reported in all of the accidents:
- Bardstown Road (31E) at Grinstead
- Dixie Highway (31W) at Pendleton
- Hurstbourne Parkway at Bunsen.
Other roads in the Greater Metropolitan Louisville area with a high number of accidents and injuries between 1/1/15 through 8/20/16 include:
- Bardstown (31E): 7 crashes, 18 injuries
- Breckinridge (1932): 6 crashes, 25 injuries
- Broadway (150): 12 crashes, 26 injuries
- Dixie Hwy (31W): 6 crashes, 23 injuries
- Dr WJ Hodge St (31W): 10 crashes, 32 injuries
- Fern Valley (1747): 6 crashes, 18 injuries
- Greenbelt (1934): 6 crashes, 15 injuries
- Jackson (61): 10 crashes, 26 injuries
- Newburg (1703): 7 crashes, 18 injuries
- Preston (61): 6 crashes, 16 injuries
- 3rd (1020): 8 crashes, 20 injuries
- 22nd (31W): 13 crashes, 35 injuries.
It should be noted that the Dixie Highway (the “Die-Way”) has more crashes that injure more people than any other road in the Louisville area. In 2012, one out of every five crashes on the Dixie resulted in injury.
Pedestrians: No Luck in Louisville
Pedestrians are at special risk in our city. A five-year study from 2006 to 2010 identified the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians to cross. The first three are downtown:
- Second Street and Broadway
- Fourth Street and Broadway
- Fourth and Market
- Bardstown Road at Goldsmith Lane
- Preston Highway at Gilmore Lane.
During these years, Louisville averaged over 400 pedestrian-vehicle collisions and 16 pedestrian deaths. Police are now spotlighting the intersections, passing out information about safety to both drivers and pedestrians in an effort to rein in fatalities and injuries. Louisville police have also checked crosswalk buttons to discover those which are not working.
Between January 1 and mid-March of 2016, pedestrians were hit at four of the five intersections listed above; the exception was Preston at Gilmore.
How Can I Protect Myself?
You can take certain steps to keep from becoming an intersection statistic:
- Drive defensively. You know what that means: always assume the other person is not obeying traffic laws or yielding when they should.
- Always look both ways before entering the intersection.
- Allow an uncontrolled (no traffic lights) intersection to clear before you enter it.
- Be especially careful at dawn, dusk, and overnight of uncontrolled intersections.
- In intersections with traffic lights, don’t assume the other driver will stop just because the light is red.
- Always watch out for pedestrians, for children, and for those who may need extra time to cross.
- If you are the pedestrian, be especially careful of turning vehicles, and don’t assume someone will stop just because you have the right-of-way.