Avoid Metropolitan Accidents

Many people find the allure of the big city too hard to resist. In addition to more employment opportunities, large metropolitan areas typically offer more convenience than their suburban counterparts. As a result, metropolitan roadways are often busy.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three-quarters of the population live in the country's metropolitan areas. The majority of the nation's growth over the next 25 years is expected to be in metropolitan areas. Traffic in these areas stands to increase, which will no doubt lead to a spike in accidents as well.

City Statistics

Crashes that cause injuries and property damage are more likely to occur in urban areas. However, fatal crashes occur at a higher rate in rural areas. There are a number of accidents that are common to populated areas, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These include:

* Running red lights or other traffic controls, such as stop or yield signs, and having a collision.

* Stopping or being in the process of stopping and being struck from the rear.

* Running off of the road and striking an object.

* Swerving into an occupied lane.

* Turning left and colliding with an oncoming vehicle.

Avoid Accidents

Accidents in urban areas can be largely prevented if drivers take action. Here are ways that many common accidents can be avoided.

* Exercise caution when approaching an intersection. Drivers should slow down when approaching any intersection. They should be prepared to stop, even if they have the right of way. Don't run through red lights or attempt to "beat" the yellow light. Someone on the other side of the intersection may be harboring similar thoughts.

* Leave several car lengths between vehicles. Tailgating can be troublesome to drivers. Not only does it limit the amount of response time a driver has, but also it could anger another driver and lead to a dangerous altercation. As more and more drivers are distracted by technology, driving with several car lengths between cars takes on even greater importance.

* Check blind spots often. Drivers should repeatedly check for cars in their blind spots, especially when changing lanes or making a turn. Cyclists, motorcycle riders and even pedestrians may be hidden in a blind spot. Err on the side of safety.

* Drive slowly. Urban areas do not offer the open road of rural areas. That means drivers will have to maintain slower speed limits to stay safe. Excess speed makes it difficult to see obstacles, including pedestrians or debris on the road. Driving too fast can also make handling turns treacherous.

Electronic enforcement is present. Many towns and cities employ the use of speed-monitoring devices or cameras to catch traffic violations. Red light cameras have been shown to reduce violations by 40 to 50 percent. Drivers should keep in mind that cameras may be in use where they frequently travel.

* Be cautious during left-hand turns. According to research, many side-impact accidents occur when a collision takes place during a left-hand turn into oncoming traffic. Drivers should wait for a left turn signal when possible and make sure oncoming traffic has completely stopped before turning. If the intersection is particularly treacherous, motorists can choose another place to turn, even if it means going out of the way for a few minutes.

Metropolitan areas can be ideal places to live. Driving safely within city limits often requires placing a greater emphasis on driving defensively and staying aware at all times.