According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration,

“Intersections are planned points of conflict in any roadway system.”

That speaks volumes about how much care we need to take when approaching intersections.

Many different sizes of vehicles meet at intersections - from the motorcycle or small sports car to the semi-truck and trailer, each driver having his own level of ability and personal agenda as he travels the roadway. Intersections also contain non-motorized users including bicyclists and pedestrians who utilize special lanes and sidewalks alongside vehicle traffic.

Approximately twenty two percent of fatal crashes on all road types occur at intersections. Because of the higher speeds and greater response times for emergency vehicles, fatal and serious injury crashes are slightly higher at rural intersections.

Negotiating intersections is one of the most demanding tasks the driver faces. To safely navigate an intersection, the driver must be aware of the intersection, other vehicles, pedestrians, and objects in his path. He must also monitor his speed, lane position, distance, and read and interpret signals and directional signage. In addition to these things, he must predict the actions of others and plan his reaction as he navigates safe routes. This happens at every intersection. Of course, many of us have years of driving experience and we do many of these things without thinking. Still, it is good to intentionally think through these intersection issues so that we can safely maneuver the larger vehicles we drive and continue to improve our strategy.

As an RV driver, there are many safety challenges when navigating intersections that require a bit of knowledge and planning. This series reviews intersection facts and information every RVer should keep in mind. We will explore different types of intersections drivers may encounter as they traverse the United States. All drivers must deal with other vehicles, but they also encounter trains, bicycles, and pedestrians as they travel through more populated areas. New information and technology have drastically changed the look of some traditional exchanges making the proper method of passage a bit confusing at times. Knowing a few principles of about various intersection types will help us better navigate unfamiliar crossings.

We will also review pavement markings and signage found in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. RV drivers should already have a basic knowledge of these signs and markings, but it is also good to refresh the knowledge obtained in our teens to gain better understanding of their purpose and intent.

“The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) is a document issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to be used by Federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that traffic control devices—signs, signals, markings, or other devices used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic—are designed, installed, and applied consistently across the U.S.”