Stop signs are meant to control the flow of traffic. The idea is that drivers who must come to a stop can then look around for other traffic and move through the intersection in a regulated manner than makes accidents unlikely.

However, the stats on how this works out in reality, and not in theory, can be rather frightening.

In one study, experts looked at a total of around 700,000 accidents that happened at intersections controlled by stop signs. What they found was that stop sign violations accounted for a heavy majority, being linked to about 70 percent of the wrecks. The next highest was a rear-end collision, though it came in far lower, at a mere 12 percent.

What is perhaps most concerning is that the majority of the drivers—right around 66 percent—actually came to a stop before the accident. The most common reason for the crash was that the driver did not see any other traffic approaching and then drove out into that traffic.

The big issue here is that there is nothing more than can be done from a traffic control perspective. The signs were working as intended and should have theoretically helped drivers avoid these accidents, but mistakes made by the drivers led to accidents anyway. While the common assumption is that wrecks happen when drivers run through stop signs without stopping, that was not found to be the case in most instances—though it does happen.

If you’ve been injured in such a wreck in Colorado, make sure you know what rights you have to compensation.

Source: NCBI, “Analysis of motor-vehicle crashes at stop signs in four US cities.,” RA Retting, HB Weinstein, MG Solomon, accessed March 21, 2016