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How dangerous are Honolulu’s intersections? As many motorists found in 2015, some are much more accident-prone than others.
Worst Areas Throughout the City
This Oahu 2015 Accident Map illustrates that certain areas of the city are much more disposed to car accidents in intersections. By far, the worst area in 2015 was around 1450 block of Ala Moana Blvd with 312 accidents. This area includes the whole Ala Moana Center and surrounding parking lots.
Ala Moana Center
Throughout Oahu, a number of areas stand out as posing particular danger to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Throughout 2015, the city’s roadways and intersections with the highest accident counts included:
4210 Block of Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, 147 accidents
H1E Freeway Near Exits 20 in Kalihi, 138 accidents
H1E Freeway Downtown Near Exits 21, 134 accidents
H1E Freeway Near Exits 23, 121 accidents
1620 Block of North School Street in Kalihi, 106 accidents
As the map illustrates, a number of additional intersections throughout Honolulu also were the site of dozens of crashes during 2015. Some of the other troublesome areas include:
- 520 block of Alakawa Street, Kalihi, 104 accidents
- 2250 block of Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki 78 accidents
- 1300 block of Punchbowl Street, 67 accidents
- 2000 block of Kalia Road, Waikiki, 63 accidents
- 840 block of Ala Lilikoi Street, Salt Lake, 59 accidents
- 800 block of South Beretania Street, 56 accidents
- 3220 block of Waialae Avenue, Kaimuki, 55 accidents
Fatal Accidents in Honolulu
In both 2013 and 2014, Honolulu reported 21 fatal vehicle accidents. In 2013, those fatal accidents involved 27 vehicles; in 2014, they involved 22 vehicles. In addition, in 2013:
- 23 people died in car crashes.
- 37 people were involved in fatal car accidents.
- Eight fatal accidents involved intoxicated persons.
- Six pedestrians were involved in fatal accidents.
- 21 people died in car accidents.
- 23 people were involved in fatal accidents.
- Six fatal accidents involved intoxicated persons.
- 14 pedestrians were involved in fatal accidents.
The 2013 and 2014 numbers represented an increase from 2012, when Honolulu reported 15 fatal accidents that killed 15 people.
Among Worst in the Country — but Improving?
In 2009, Forbes ranked Honolulu as 43rd-worst among its “America’s Worst Intersections” list. The good news was that the city experienced the largest decrease in traffic congestion of any cities in the survey, with travel times having decreased by 11 percent. Still, Honolulu ranked second in the United States for traffic congestion. In 2015, the city ranked third in the nation — just after Los Angeles and San Francisco — for traffic congestion.
The city’s worst bottleneck, Forbes reported, was the intersection of Moanalua Freeway and Interstate H201 Eastbound at Interstate H1.
Inherent Dangers of Intersections
According to the Federal Highway Administration, intersections constitute “planned points of conflict” in road systems, including rural roads, city streets, state highways and national interstates. At intersections, cars cross paths with other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Intersections are more complex, and less predictable, than other areas of roads. Safely navigating intersections can involve multiple variables, including the potential need to:
- Slow down or stop.
- Yield the right of way.
- Make a turn.
So it’s no surprise that many accidents occur at intersections. Across the United States, an average of 25 percent of fatal crashes — and fully half of injuries due to traffic — occur in intersections. Many crashes in intersections result from crossing paths with another vehicle, often with vehicles traveling in opposite or perpendicular directions and one vehicle cutting across another vehicle’s path. When vehicles cross paths, the types of crashes include:
- Direct crossing of paths.
- A left turn across another vehicle’s path.
- A right/left turn into a vehicle’s path.
In addition, 40 percent of all collisions between pedestrians and vehicles in the United States occur in intersections.
Avoiding Accidents in the Worst Intersections
Intersections are among the most dangerous locations on the roads, safety officials say. Most state and federal strategies to address safety in intersections focus on better engineering and on making drivers aware of the dangers.
Of all vehicle crashes in the United States, 90 percent occur as the result of human error. One recent study found that with use of just three intelligent vehicle technologies, one in every six accidents would not happen. These vehicle technologies are being engineered to support human driving abilities and protect against weaknesses like limited lines of sight and reaction times that are too slow to avoid accidents.
Until those intelligent vehicle systems are fully implemented, what can you do to prevent an accident — especially in intersections?
1. Minimize distractions in your car. This means no texting, eating, reading, putting on makeup or fumbling for an item that falls on the floor. When your vehicle is moving, your eyes should be on the road. Particularly at intersections, your full attention is vital for avoiding an accident.
2. Drive defensively. Your first responsibility behind the wheel is to be aware of your own driving. Your second responsibility is to look out for other drivers. Always keep an eye on what others are doing and check your blind spots. When your light turns green at an intersection, pause briefly to ensure that cars going in the other direction have stopped.
3. Keep your vehicle in good working order. The condition of your brakes and tires, in particular, may save your life in an accident. Fluids and vehicle systems also should receive regular maintenance.
If you’ve been injured in a Honolulu car accident, it’s important to ensure that your rights are protected by working with an experienced car accident injury attorney. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Davis Levin Livingston for a consultation.