The Most Dangerous Intersections in New Orleans
Serious and fatal car accidents frequently occur at crossroads
Dangerous intersections in New Orleans pose a significant threat, with many car accidents taking place at intersections resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. Intersection accidents can be caused by various factors, including speeding drivers in New Orleans, distracted driving incidents in Metairie, or red-light runners on the West Bank Expressway. It only takes one negligent driver to cause a catastrophic collision at a busy intersection.
However, not all intersections carry the same level of risk. Several elements can contribute to the danger, such as heavy traffic, limited visibility, insufficient signage, complex road layouts, lack of pedestrian safety measures, frequent speeding, and a history of previous accidents.
What are the most dangerous intersections in Louisiana?
With a dense population, high-volume traffic, and accessible neighborhoods, New Orleans experiences thousands of intersection accidents every year. About half of all traffic accidents in the city are at or near a crossroads. This type of accident often results in serious injuries and may be fatal - especially for pedestrians and cyclists.
Left turns present the most opportunities for collision, followed by crossovers. Right turns rarely lead to accidents. In New Orleans, fatal intersection accidents are increasing because of drivers who run red lights. Crash data analysis reveals New Orleans’ most dangerous intersections include:
- Canal Street at S Jefferson Davis Pkwy
- Broad Ave (US-90), Duels St, Republic St
- Westbend Pkwy, Gen de Gaulle Dr, Garden Oaks Dr
- Canal Street and North Claiborne Ave
- Charles Ave and Napolean Ave (this crossroads has an especially high bicycle accident rate)
- Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road
- Claiborne Ave and MKJ Blvd
- Magazine St and Washington Ave (a high foot traffic area where pedestrians are at a higher risk for injury)
Almost any crash configuration can happen at a crossroads. Still, common types of intersection crashes include head-on collisions between oncoming vehicles, side impact collisions (aka “T-bones”), sideswipes, and accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. Rear-end collisions (rear-enders) are also very common at intersections. This type of serious crash can happen when a distracted driver hits another vehicle stopped at a light or when a driver following too closely doesn’t leave enough room to hit the brakes when traffic slows or stops, among many other scenarios.
Why intersection accidents happen
Intersections are natural spots for crashes. Traditional intersections, the most common type, can facilitate direct turning movements involving two or more roads but can present as many as 70 or more opportunities for a single driver to get into a collision. These are called “crash points.”
Outside of illegal maneuvers like red-light running and cutting off oncoming traffic, left turns that require drivers to cross lanes of opposite travel are the most dangerous actions. Interestingly, fewer accidents occur in crossovers, in which a vehicle on a minor road drives over at least two lanes of traffic to cross a major street,
Driver error is the most common cause of intersection accidents and is a factor in nearly all (96 percent) crossroad crashes. However, the most frequently cited harmful events preceding intersection accidents are:
- Turning with an obstructed view and other types of inadequate surveillance were factors in 44-50 percent of intersection accidents.
- Misunderstanding the intentions of other drivers, a factor in 8 percent of accidents.
Other common factors include:
- Weather conditions like “super fog” – a combination of thick swamp fog and smoke that can overwhelm New Orleans streets, causing blackout-like conditions and serious, multi-vehicle accidents – contribute to about 25 percent of intersection accidents. The most frequently identified bad weather conditions associated with intersection accidents are cloudiness, followed by rain and fog.
- Speeding, aggressive driving, road rage, 23 percent
- Illegal maneuvers, 7 percent
- Distracted driving, 6-13 percent
- Misjudging the gap or other’s speed, 5 percent
Common intersection accident injuries
Intersection accidents often cause serious or even fatal injuries. The severity of damage is influenced by the size and speed of the vehicles involved and crash configuration, as well as the pre-existing physical conditions of the people involved. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that may result from various intersection crashes:
- Frontal and near-side collisions lead to the steering wheel or dashboard impacts with front seat passengers and may cause pulmonary contusions and rib fractures.
- T-bone impacts can cause a wide variety of serious injuries to the occupant seated closest to the point of impact.
- Intrusion crushes the occupant, causing another impact. If that’s not enough, they get a double hit by contact with the car's interior and any personal items in the car.
- T-Bone or lateral impacts associated with aortic or organ shear injuries, as well as fractures of the pelvis, neck, clavicle, and skull on the impact side.
- Rear impacts increase the risk of flexion and extension injuries of the neck (e.g., whiplash) and the chance of fractures of the spine.
After a crash, medical expenses can quickly become overwhelming. There is often disagreement about who had the right of way, and recovering compensation can be complex. The at-fault driver may deny responsibility, and proving fault can be difficult without the right evidence. Given that most intersection accidents occur at speeds below 40 mph, insurance companies may also question the seriousness of a victim's injuries.
Legal issues in intersection accidents
Each car accident is unique, and the legal issues that arise can vary based on the specific circumstances of the crash. Legal professionals play a crucial role in addressing these challenges and ensuring a fair resolution. After filing an intersection car accident claim, various legal issues may arise, including:
- Right of way disputes. Arguments over which driver had the right of way are a common legal issue in situations where traffic signals or signs are involved.
- Negligence. To get out of paying crash victims what they are entitled to, negligent drivers and their insurance companies often blame victims for being negligent themselves.
- Witness testimonies. Not all witnesses see things the same. Challenges may arise regarding the credibility and reliability of witness testimonies and who is telling the truth.
- Traffic violations. Violations of traffic laws, such as running a red light or speeding, can become central issues in an intersection accident claim.
- Insurance coverage disputes. Issues related to insurance coverage, such as disputes over liability or coverage limits, may complicate the resolution of the claim.
- Multiple claims. In cases involving multiple vehicles or parties, determining liability and negotiating settlements with insurance companies can become more complex. Still, a lawyer with experience handling pile-ups and multi-vehicle accident cases can help.
- Government liability. In some cases, if poor road conditions or inadequate signage contributed to the accident, there may be legal issues involving government liability. If the condition of the road itself contributed to the accident, there could be legal issues involving road maintenance and responsibility.
- Product liability. If an intersection accident is the result of an equipment malfunction caused by defective brakes or a blown tire, the victim may be eligible to file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective part.
Claims involving intersection accidents are complex
The legal team at The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC in New Orleans knows it only takes one serious crash to change someone’s life forever. One wrong move by a negligent driver, especially in an overcrowded intersection, risks the lives and well-being of everyone around them.
Attorney John S. Williams is a trusted and experienced car accident lawyer who holds negligent drivers accountable. If you were injured or a loved one died in a New Orleans intersection accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We can answer your questions, explain your potential legal options, and help you decide the best next steps.
Click here to download a printable PDF version of this article, "The Most Dangerous Intersections in New Orleans."