In general, driving is safe and accidents are rare, but there are some turns that can be more dangerous than others. According to data backed by the NHTSA and other organizations, the left hand turn is infamous for being one of the more dangerous turns one can make while driving.
In this article we’ll cover the top five reasons left hand turns are dangerous while driving, and what you can do to minimize the risk.
Rushing Through Yellow Lights
When driving during a busy day, catching a yellow light can mean the difference between being on time and being late. Catching the light means speeding up, and whether you’re driving straight through the intersection or making a left turn, those moments while the light is changing from green to red can be critical and risks of a car accident occurring are high as a result.
Always remember that when the light is turning yellow and you’re passing through the intersection, while you may be rushing to catch the light, the person driving in the opposite direction may be doing the same. The key is to stay patient and alert. It’s better to have to wait an extra few minutes than to run the risk of getting into an accident.
Passing Through Unfamiliar Intersections
Not all intersections are created equal. Some intersections are wider than others, while some may force you to make a turn that may take longer than anticipated. When driving through an unfamiliar intersection, pay extra attention to the road coming up ahead in order to anticipate how long the turn will take and determine when the safest time to make the turn will be. Take extra care to allow plenty of time to let oncoming cars pass before moving forward and committing to the turn.
Sudden or Unanticipated Obstructions or Pedestrians
Even the most careful drivers may find themselves in challenging situations when making a left turn. Sometimes, you won’t notice a pedestrian is crossing the street when initiating a left turn and you may get stuck in the middle of the intersection while oncoming traffic is fast approaching. Or an oncoming car may be making a right turn ahead of you into the same lane you’ll be making a left into. Or the driver ahead of you who is waiting to make a left turn decides to go straight instead as you initiate your left turn.
These are all high risk situations, and this is why left turns are so dangerous. This is where staying patient and alert is most important in order to understand the risk and take action in order to minimize it.
Obstructed or Limited View Ahead
When you’re waiting to make a left turn, there is usually a driver ahead waiting to make a left turn in the other direction. If the lanes in the street are not aligned, or if there is a large SUV or truck waiting to turn ahead of you, your view of oncoming traffic may be limited. But when the light is turning, you need to act, and this is where the risk of an accident increases.
In these instances, turn as slow as you need to in order to clear your view before fully committing to the turn. Remember, it’s better to take a few extra minutes rather than risk a car accident while making a left turn.
Difficulty Judging the Speed of Oncoming Traffic
When waiting to make a left turn at an intersection without a green arrow, you’ll need to use your judgment about whether or not the turn is safe. When the light turns yellow and there is oncoming traffic, they will either stop at the light or speed up in order to make it through.
Sometimes it may be difficult to judge the speed of the coming traffic and anticipate whether or not they will stop. In this situation, it’s best to wait a few seconds to be sure what the oncoming driver will do before committing fully to the left turn. Try not to guess what they will do or expect them to stop on time. Always take the precaution of patience when making left hand turns.
Contact A Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury due to someone else’s fault, be sure to work with a qualified personal injury lawyer right away so you and your loved ones can get the justice and monetary compensation you deserve.
Contact The Law Offices of Michael A. Rabban at (818) 272-8882 today for your free consultation.