Left Turn Accident: What to Do and How to Avoid Them

March 5 2023

Left turn accidents tend to happen when drivers either underestimate the speed of oncoming traffic or fail to yield when turning left. Poor visibility due to weather conditions and road obstructions can also contribute to left turn collisions.

Understanding the Rules for Left Turns at Intersections

When it comes to left turns, there are several rules and regulations that must be followed for the safety of all drivers. It is important for drivers to be informed of all applicable laws and regulations before attempting to make a left turn.

First and foremost, the law regarding right-of-ways applies when making a left-hand turn. Essentially, the law states that the driver in a straight line has the right of way over any other driver attempting to turn left or even merge into another lane. Drivers turning left should wait until they can make the turn without crossing directly in front of other vehicles that have already begun moving in their intended direction.

It is also important for drivers making a left turn to ensure that the intersection is clear before beginning the maneuver. Drivers should take extra caution by checking their blind spot prior to turning, as well as signaling prior to initiating the left turn so as not to surprise other drivers who may be nearby or affected by the maneuver. Additionally, drivers should pay attention to any special traffic signals posted in proximity of an intersection that outline when it is safe to cross or turn.

Finally, some states also have additional requirements when it comes to making a legal left turn at an intersection. For example, some states require a driver operating a motor vehicle to come to a complete stop while others may simply mandate that speed be reduced significantly near an intersection or when using caution lights and signs are present in order to remain safe and alert other drivers of your intentions.

Understanding and following all applicable laws and regulations when making a left turn at an intersection is important in order to prevent any potential accidents from occurring. The next section will discuss what exactly constitutes a “left turn”.

  • A study conducted in 2018 found that left-turn crashes account for up to 23% of all intersection-related crashes.
  • According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 28% of fatal intersection-related crashes in 2018 involved left turns.
  • A UK study conducted in 2014 found that left turns represented 42% of all intersection related accidents, and 37% of all intersection related serious injury collisions.

What Is a Left Turn?

A left turn is a maneuver in which driving proceeds in one direction and then turns left to change directions. Generally, when making a left turn, a driver must yield to oncoming traffic and wait until it’s safe to enter the new lane of travel. A left turn isn’t necessarily complex, but it can be dangerous if done improperly or without caution.

In the United States, some cities practice the “no turn on red” rule while others allow drivers to execute a “protected” left turn on a red light only after coming to a complete stop and realizing that it is safe to do so. The “no turn on red” rule is designed to minimize the likelihood of accidents caused by reckless turns. The debate regarding who has the right of way when making a left turn often centers around whether or not the “no turn on red” rule should be implemented more widely.

Supporters of the “no turn on red” rule argue that it reduces congestion by removing the temptation for drivers to try to beat a yellow light and thus preventing potential accidents from occurring. They also point out that the “no turn on red” rule encourages safer road conditions by forcing drivers to come to complete stops, look both ways before entering an intersection, and evaluate traffic flow before turning.

On the other hand, opponents of this rule criticize its implementation as costly, inefficient, and restrictive; they counter that if executed correctly – meaning driving at a reasonable speed and stopping at appropriate times – a left turn is no less safe than any other driving maneuver. These critics also suggest that implementing such rules are attempts by municipalities to increase revenue through issuing fines for violations.

Left turns can be tricky maneuvers if they are not done with caution; yet, utilizing common-sense driving skills can help to ensure successful and safe transitions into other lanes of traffic. Ultimately, getting familiar with your surroundings and obeying traffic laws will help keep you – and those around you – from harm’s way when making left turns.

The next section will discuss who has the right of way when making a left turn and provide further insight into understanding this driving situation in order to leave any intersection safely.

Who Has the Right of Way When Making a Left Turn?

When making a left turn, there are a variety of laws and rules to consider when determining who has the right of way. In most cases, the vehicle that is turning left must yield to oncoming traffic. If two cars arrive at the same time, then the car on the left should yield to the car on the right.

In terms of pedestrians and bicyclists, they have the right-of-way unless they are crossing against a green light or have disregarded posted stop signs or signals. It is important that drivers take heed to pedestrian crossings and exercise caution if someone walks out in front of them while attempting a left turn.

On roundabouts, vehicles need to give way to traffic coming in from their right, even if they are turning left. Drivers must also be aware of any pull-out lanes for bicycles and always check for cyclists before turning left.

There is also an exception when no other drivers or pedestrians are present: drivers may make turns on red in certain jurisdictions after performing a complete stop at the intersection and ensuring it is safe to turn. However, it is always best practice to double check with your local motor vehicle department on local laws concerning this particular action.

Regardless of who has the right-of-way, all drivers should use caution when attempting a left turn and adhere to all applicable rules of the road within their jurisdiction. Now that we know who has the right of way when making a left turn let us explore some common causes of left turn accidents in the upcoming section.

Causes of Left Turn Accidents

Left turn accidents are a significant source of collisions and can be difficult for drivers to avoid them, but understanding the common causes of them can help to mitigate the risk. While some left turn accident causes are unavoidable or unpredictable, others occur frequently due to driver negligence.

The first cause of left turn accidents is the failure to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. Many drivers don’t realize how much time it takes for vehicles traveling in opposite directions to safely pass one another, so they end up taking their own left turn when oncoming traffic is too close. If a driver fails to yield the right-of-way by not waiting for an opening in oncoming traffic that’s wide enough, they may cause an accident while making their left turn.

Another major issue contributing to left turns accidents is distracted driving. Anything that takes a driver’s focus off the road can lead to disaster very quickly if they are not paying attention when approaching a busy intersection or preparing to make a left turn. Even hands-free devices such as cell phones, GPS systems, and other in-car infotainment systems can create task overload, which in itself can be a major distraction.

Sometimes even having distractions within the vehicle itself can take away from a driver’s concentration on the road and result in an erroneous decision made while making a left turn that can potentially lead to an accident. That includes passengers playing loud music, talking too loudly and unnecessarily distracting them during any sort of simultaneous task like driving and making a left turn at the same time.

It’s also important for drivers to understand their turning radius and vehicle visibility before entering an intersection; these two factors are important variables that can increase or reduce the chances of being involved in a collision when attempting a left turn. Depending on the angle at which drivers approach intersections and what obstacles might appear along their path, they must be able to accurately gauge how far they need to turn in order to have enough space for oncoming traffic.

No matter how well you prepare yourself when encountering potential routes that require a left turn, driver negligence plays an important role in how many these types of accidents happen every year. All drivers should practice safe driving habits and must always remain vigilant when approaching any intersection – especially ones with heavy traffic – by following posted signs and signals and by continuing to pay attention until after clearing it. With this knowledge now clear, we will move on in our article now explore further another major factor regarding left-hand turns: driver negligence.

Driver Negligence

Driver negligence is a key factor in left turn accident scenarios. In some cases, the driver making the left turn can be found legally liable for their negligence and resulting accidents and injuries. When assessing driver negligence, traffic laws are taken into consideration to determine a driver’s responsibility. Depending on the particular circumstances of the accident, two basic categories of negligence must be examined: did the driver fail to exercise reasonable care in driving or did they violate a law that caused an accident?

First, let us consider whether or not a driver failed to take reasonable care while making a left turn. Under common law, drivers are obligated to take reasonable care in operation of a motor vehicle. What constitutes “reasonable care” and when it has been breached is difficult to assess, but generally speaking a court will look at important factors such as speed and environment. If that same court determines that the driver was speeding or recklessly disregarding environmental factors like visibility, they may find them liable for failing to exercise the standard of reasonable care in driving.

On the other hand, sometimes violations of traffic laws can serve as evidence of negligence. This is because states have specific standards of care that are based on certain traffic laws that each driver should follow in order to ensure safety on the roadways. Additionally, an admitted violation of any traffic law per se indicates fault or culpability if any injury results from such violation and may also serve as direct proof of negligence in civil trials stemming from an auto accident. Thus, most states abide by the notion that inability to follow traffic rules presumptively demonstrates lack of due care regarding safety and probable breach of duty toward others on the road.

In summary, determining negligence in left-turn accidents involves careful review of a driver’s conduct at the time of the incident and consideration for their adherence (or lack thereof) to applicable laws and standards of reasonable care. This concludes our discussion about Driver Negligence; now we turn our attention to examining signs that a driver may have negligently made a left turn – which will be discussed further in the next section.

Signs That a Driver May Have Negligently Made a Left Turn

When it comes to understanding signs that a driver may have negligently made a left turn, there are a few tell-tale signs that can avail themselves in the aftermath of an accident. Negligent left turns can be caused as a result of several types of driver behaviors and determining exactly what happened prior to an accident is often the key to establishing liability.

Driver negligence is one of the leading causes of left-hand turns gone wrong and thus these cases require particular scrutiny in order to establish liability. Often times, simple indicators like lane placement and traffic signals can help clarify who was at fault. But sometimes it takes more detailed investigation into the behavior of the drivers involved to determine if negligent actions occurred.

Drivers may have been negligent if they failed to yield the right of way, make an improper turn, crossed a double yellow line, or violated the speed limit for the area where the accident occurred. Additionally, speeding or driving too fast for conditions can also point towards driver negligence if excessive speed played a role in causing or contributing to an accident. It’s also important to note that not every violation constitutes negligence so a careful review of all evidence needs to be taken in order to see whether or not any gross negligence has occurred.

In certain cases, negligence can also be inferred from common sense considerations such as wet pavement or poor visibility that would likely lead to reduced speed by most reasonable drivers. Furthermore, automated systems like lane departure warning systems – which are increasingly being installed into vehicles these days – can alert drivers when they veer out of their lane without due caution which might suggest a lapse in concentration on the part of one or both drivers involved in an accident.

Ultimately, whether reckless driving is deemed culpable will come down to how each particular situation is assessed. The importance here is to remember that left turns require special attention since they involve multiple parties and potential hazards. And with this in mind we now move onto our next section: Liability For Left Turn Accidents.

Liability For Left Turn Accidents

Liability for left turn accidents is a complex subject encompassing multiple legal elements. In most cases when there is a left-turn collision, the driver making the turn can be held responsible for any resulting damages—including property damage and injuries to other individuals. This is due to the fact that anyone making a turn must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.

When it comes to fault for a left turn accident, many variables will come into play, such as the speed of the vehicle making the turn, and the state of mind of both drivers involved. For example, if the driver entering into an intersection doesn’t follow signaling laws or proceed at a safe speed while someone else is already in the intersection, they may be liable. On the other hand, if an opposing driver was speeding or violating other rules of the road, such as ignoring stoplights or stop signs, they may also incur liability.

As this situation can become very complicated very quickly, it’s best to involve a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident has occurred in order to determine who’s at fault. The lawyers will take into consideration all relevant details and facts associated with an incident and decide who should be held accountable or might be entitled to financial compensation.

Observing proper driving techniques and following traffic signals are two important steps that can help avoid liability from left-turn accidents. The decision-making process involving uncertain outside factors can be avoided by taking extreme caution when turning at intersections and staying aware of one’s surroundings.

To conclude this section on liability for left turn collisions, it is important to know that proving fault in an accident can be difficult without professional assistance from legal professionals. To prevent these kinds of issues from arising in the first place, drivers should be prepared for chaotic intersections where cautionary driving is paramount for safety. In the next section we’ll discuss methods for preventing left turns accidents altogether.

Prevneting Left Turn Accidents

Preventing left turn accidents is essential for ensuring safety on the roads. While some people advocate for more defensive driving to prevent left turn collisions, there are other proactive measures that drivers should take to proactively avoid such accidents.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent left turn accidents is by employing caution when turning. Before beginning the turn, drivers should check mirrors and make eye contact with other drivers to ensure it is safe to make the maneuver. Drivers should also slow down as they approach a turn if they think they may not be able to clear it safely. In addition, drivers should always follow local traffic laws – never take a left turn on red or when it is prohibited – as this greatly increases the risk of an accident occurring.

Drivers should also stay alert and focused while on the road in order to better anticipate potential problems. Distracted driving can have serious consequences, and if a driver becomes distracted while attempting a left turn, it could easily end in disaster. It’s important for drivers to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings when operating a vehicle in order to reduce the risk of any kind of traffic accident, especially one involving a left turn.

Finally, regardless of how often and carefully someone drives, unpredictable events can occur which may lead to an accident or injury. With this in mind, responsible motorists insure their cars with comprehensive auto insurance policies that protect against uninsured/underinsured motorists, collision coverage, bodily injury liability coverage, and property damage liability coverage. Having adequate car insurance will help cover any damages caused by an unforeseen event like a left turn accident.

In conclusion, there are many steps that drivers can take to reduce their risk of being involved in a left turn accident. By exercising caution during turns, abiding by local traffic laws and regulations, staying attentive while behind the wheel, and making sure they are adequately insured prior to taking the wheel, drivers can significantly reduce their risk of being involved in a potentially dangerous collision while making turns.

Most Common Questions

Why are left turn accidents more common than other types of vehicle accidents?

Left turn accidents are more common than other types of vehicle accidents because the driver will typically have to negotiate a tricky maneuver across oncoming traffic while they focus on their own road lane and other surrounding vehicles. This can lead to confusion and potential errors in judgment when trying to judge the speed and distance of approaching vehicles, as well as timing the turn correctly. Additionally, drivers making left turns also tend to be more distracted, often due to the complexity of navigating this type of maneuver. The combination of these factors increases the likelihood of an accident and contributes to why left turn accidents are the most common type of vehicle accident.

Are there any particular types of vehicles which are more likely to be involved in a left turn accident?

Yes, there are certain types of vehicles that are more likely to be involved in left turn accidents. It is important to note that the largest percentage of left turn accidents occur when the vehicle making the left turn collides with an oncoming car, bicycle or pedestrian. The following types of vehicles are particularly prone to being involved in left turn accidents:

1. Motorcycles: Motorcyclists are at an increased risk due to their smaller size and less visible presence on the road. As they make left turns they may not be seen by other drivers, increasing the risk of an accident.

2. Buses: Buses take up more of the road than cars and can cause congestion when turning left. This can lead to other motorists attempting to pass them on their right-hand side, resulting in a collision when the bus begins its left turn.

3. Large trucks and vans: These types of vehicles create visibility problems for drivers making left turns since they tend to block smaller vehicles from view when making a wide U-turn. This poses extra danger for drivers who may not be able to see oncoming traffic before making their turn.

It is important for drivers of these high-risk vehicles as well as all other drivers on the road to be aware of the potential risks associated withmaking left turns, and take extra caution when doing so. Properly checking blind spots, using signal lights and avoiding distractions can help reduce your chances of being involved in a left turn accident.

What are the most common reasons for a left turn accident?

The most common reasons for a left turn accident are due to distracted driving, inadequate signaling, poor visibility, misjudgment of the other driver’s speed or direction, and failure to yield right of way.

Distracted driving can be defined as doing any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving. Common sources of distractions while driving include cell phone use, tuning the radio, eating or drinking, grooming, and more. Without paying full attention to their surroundings, drivers may misjudge a turn and cause an accident.

Inadequate signaling is another common reason for a left turn accident. Drivers may forget to indicate their intention to turn left before the maneuver takes place, leading to confusion and potential collisions with other vehicles in the same lane.

Poor visibility of other drivers on the road can also lead to left turn accidents. If a driver is unable to see another vehicle’s headlight, they may not be able to predict their direction or speed in time to avoid an accident when making a left-hand turn.

Misjudging the speed or direction of another driver is also a major cause of left turn accidents. By assuming that approaching vehicles will either slow down or move in a certain direction, drivers may attempt the left turn too early and end up colliding with those vehicles instead.

Finally, failure to yield right of way can also lead to left-hand turning accidents. When two cars have a stop sign in common at an intersection but one is turning left and one is continuing straight, it’s important for the car making the left turn to yield right of way until it’s safe for them to proceed across the intersection. Failing to do so can result in an accident between both vehicles.