Intersections & Other High Risk Roadway Locations


See Also: Work Zones, Railroad Crossings


Intersections involve two or more roads crossing or merging, thereby creating an opportunity for conflict between two or more vehicles, or between vehicles and pedestrians or other vulnerable roadway users. When vehicles or pedestrians are passing through an intersection by either turning or crossing through, these actions require road users to utilize the same space, which may result in a collision if they arrive at the same time. Research indicates that nationwide, nearly 40 percent of all crashes and 20 percent of fatal crashes are intersection-related. For the purposes of data collection and analysis, intersection-related collisions are defined as those that occurred within 250 feet of the center of an intersection. Safety literature indicates that the two most common crash scenarios at intersections involve left turns and being struck from the rear.


During the five-year period, 2008 to 2012, there were 17,503 fatal or severe injury crashes in South Carolina. Of these, almost one-fourth (24.9%, or 4,358) were intersection-related. The number of persons killed in intersection-related crashes from 2008 - 2012 was 830, an average of 166 deaths annually. Over 7,600 persons were severely injured in these collisions.

The number of intersection-related fatalities declined almost 14% from 2008 to 2010 before increasing 1.3% in 2011 and 18% in 2012 from the previous year.

Over half of the intersection-related fatal and severe injury collisions during the 2008-2012 time period occurred at four-way intersections, the highest category. The second highest category of intersection-related collisions was T-intersections, with 42% of the total number of fatal and severe injury collisions.


Education, Enforcement, Engineering and Emergency Management Services

1 Reduce the frequency and severity of crashes at intersections by limiting conflicts through geometric design and traffic control.


1.1   Utilize innovative design techniques, such as roundabouts and superstreets, in targeted areas.

Implementation Area(s):  Engineering

1.2  Identify high-crash intersections and evaluate for possible geometric design improvements..

Implementation Area(s):  Engineering

1.3   Improve signing and pavement markings at high risk intersections.

Implementation Area(s):  Engineering

1.4  Install LED signalized heads and reflective back plates.

Implementation Area(s):  Engineering

1.5   Coordinate with local Councils of Government and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to identify areas where improvements can be made to street lighting.

Implementation Area(s):  Engineering,  Education

2 Reduce the likelihood of intersection-related collisions due to traffic violations.


2.1   Provide targeted enforcement of traffic laws to include speed enforcement, reducing stop sign violations, and red-light running.

Implementation Area(s):  Enforcement,  Engineering

2.2  Conduct high-visibility enforcement in and around high-crash intersections.

Implementation Area(s):  Enforcement

3 Advise public on intersection safety.


3.1   Educate roadway users on the contributing factors associated with intersection crashes, complying with traffic control devices and providing proper right-of-way to all road users.

Implementation Area(s):  Education

3.2 Provide education on benefits of and instructions on traversing alternative intersections.

Implementation Area(s):  Education


4 4 Support public policy and legislative changes to allow for innovative techniques to reduce traffic violations at intersections.


4.1   Research the benefits and challenges of automated enforcement at signalized intersections, allowing for red-light-running cameras. Present findings to leadership for their consideration.

Implementation Area(s):  Legislative,  Enforcement,  Engineering