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I was challenged recently to solve this problem. An accident takes place on an intersection on a high road. However, if I was to write about this as taken place in a "high accident intersection" it would seem like a lot of accidents take place at that particular location. Is there a concise and accurate way of describing an accident at an intersection on a high altitude?

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10 Answers 10

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Are you trying to write a headline?

I would probably go with "high altitude intersection accident".

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This was essentially the same answer I came to, but looking at it after a few weeks, I have no idea what the hell it means. – Sam May 29 '11 at 5:20

The way you just did it would mean what you want: an intersection on which many accidents happen would be a high-accident intersection.

But frankly I find both phrasings a bit awkward; such a string of words without clear connections can be quite hard to parse for the reader, as your confusion would seem to prove. Brevity should step aside if clarity is getting trampled. I don't see how you could say this without prepositions or subordinate clauses.

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I'd go with the last nine words in your question, reworded slightly.

an accident at an intersection at high altitude

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It's not concise enough. – Thursagen May 12 '11 at 0:09
You could shave of a few letters with an accident at a high-altitude intersection but it quickly gets less clear. A high-altitude intersection accident while shorter, may trip up the reader a bit. Can I ask why need for such concision? Do you need it to fit somewhere? – Sam May 12 '11 at 12:15

Here are my best shots:

high intersection accident

high altitude accident

accident at a high altitude intersection

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No.1 shot was best. – Thursagen May 12 '11 at 0:46
I don't think the meaning of 'high intersection accident' is clear at all. I certainly wouldn't know what to make of it. – Snubian May 12 '11 at 4:35
I also think you need hyphens. High-intersection and high-altitude are compound adjectives here. – Cerberus May 12 '11 at 17:46
@Snub: That confusion is actually somewhat good, here. The original statement wasn't confusing but led to the wrong meaning. This at least makes the reader think. But my opinion is that "high altitude accident" is the best option (hyphens or no hyphens) because I more or less agree with you. – MrHen May 12 '11 at 18:52

When you say high road do you mean elevated?

elevated highway image

If so, you could say elevated-intersection accident.

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An accident occurred at an intersection with highly elevated roads.


An intersection with elevated roads was the site of an accident.

I like using complete sentences.

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In BE it's normally refereed to as an "accident black spot". This might not be appropriate in the USA

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Would "accident-prone" intersection work?

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Using "high" to decorate "intersection" directly seems not accurate if you go with this: "High intersection accident".

How about this: High road intersection accident.

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I think you need a hyphen in high-road here, because it is a compound adjective. – Cerberus May 12 '11 at 17:49
True, thanks for pointing that out! – Jamie May 12 '11 at 20:20

How about 'high altitude road accident'?

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I think you need a hyphen in high-altitude, possibly another one between altitude and road, because the three together form a compound adjective. – Cerberus May 12 '11 at 17:46

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