Are Left Turns Dangerous?

The short answer to the title question is yes, they can be.  There are several reasons for this, the first of which is obvious: that you are entering an intersection against oncoming traffic.  May left-hand turn lanes in California – especially within urban areas – are not controlled by a left turn traffic signal, which leaves the driver responsible to wait for appropriate clearing in oncoming traffic in order to safely execute his or her left turn.  It can be easy to misjudge speed and the distance at which an oncoming vehicle is approaching, especially at night or in other low visibility conditions.

Additionally, collisions that take place during execution of a left turn within an intersection often involve side impact.  Because the doors are not usually reinforced, they are one of the weakest areas of the vehicle’s structure which can result in passenger compartment intrusion during a side impact collision, and greater injuries.

Also, the position of the driver and passenger upon execution of the left turn can make them more prone to injury during a violent impact.

By some accounts, left hand turns account for approximately 13% of accident fatalities per year.left turn

Of course, as will any discussion of traffic safety, there are tips to avoid accidents when navigating the dangerous left-hand turn:

* Always drive defensively.

* Use extra caution to assure that a safe distance is available to make the turn.

* Assume that oncoming traffic is driving faster than the speed limit.

* Do not insist on the right of way – it is always better to be safe than sorry.

* Always wear a seat belt in its proper position.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com.

If you or someone you love has been in an automobile or trucking accident, call me now at 916-921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

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