Why Are Left Turns Dangerous?
Even though most drivers try to avoid left turns, some drivers find it hard to avoid making a left turn. Unfortunately, making a left-hand turn is one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers, a fact that is backed up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A study by the NHTSA showed that turning left is among the leading causes of “critical pre-crash events” (i.e., an event that makes an accident unavoidable), occurring in more than 20% of crashes. Further, about 61% of collisions that occur while crossing or turning an intersection involve a left turn.
Dangers of Left-Hand Turns
Left-hand turns are dangerous for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- When a driver turns left, they go against traffic and turn into oncoming traffic. This creates a danger for everyone at the intersection. Errors in judgment, such as miscalculating the distance or speed of an oncoming vehicle, can lead to disastrous consequences.
- When a motorist makes a left turn, they get exposed to drivers from the left and right, who might be running a red light. Also, when a driver makes a left turn, they face drivers from directly ahead. Such exposure can lead to the occurrence of T-bone or head-on collisions. Unfortunately, T-bone and head-on collisions are two of the deadliest types of crashes.
- Left-hand turns sometimes obstruct drivers as they turn or get ready to turn. An obstructed view can cause a driver to initiate a left turn when it is unsafe.
- Left-hand turns require a driver to estimate the distance of the intersection and how long it will take them to pass through. Judging the width/distance of an intersection is just as important as judging the speed of oncoming vehicles. When a driver miscalculates the width/distance of an intersection, they might initiate a left turn that ends up taking longer than they anticipated.
Because of the many dangers that come with a left turn, most experts agree there is a good reason why drivers should avoid left turns. Some delivery companies don’t even make left turns unless a left turn is completely unavoidable. UPS is one of these companies. If you think about it, you probably have never seen a UPS truck make a left-hand turn. Decades ago, UPS moved from trying to find the shortest route possible and decided to look at other ways to optimize the journey. One method the logistic company uses is to try and avoid turning through oncoming traffic at a junction (which includes trying and avoiding left-hand turns in countries with right-hand traffic). Doing so reduces the chances of an accident, cuts delays caused by waiting for a gap in traffic, and saves fuel.
Making Safe Left Turns
Whenever you can, it is advisable for you to avoid left turns when driving. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot avoid a left turn, among other things:
- Ensure your vehicle is in the correct lane to make a left turn.
- Slow down and signal that you want to make a left-hand turn.
- Wait until there is no oncoming traffic before making your left turn.
Contact Us for Legal Help
If you, a family member, friend, or someone you know has been involved in a Florida left-hand turn accident, we can help. Contact a skilled Key West & Marathon car accident attorney at Florida Keys injury today to schedule a consultation.