Why Is a Left Turn One of the Most Dangerous Driving Maneuvers and Should It Be Banned?

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Here is why left turns are more dangerous than right turns:

  • Drivers have a tendency to accelerate into a left turn. The wider radius of a left turn can lead to higher speeds and greater pedestrian exposure.
  • Left turns demand more mental and physical effort than right turns. Left-hand turns are riskier for older adult drivers relative to younger drivers.
  • Increased safety standards require wider vehicle A-pillars. A-pillars can create blind spots in the driver's vision. The driver's visibility can also be obscured by parked cars.

Why Doesn't UPS Turn Left?

Since Bob Stoffel, Senior VP of UPS, revealed to Fortune in 2010 the company's tactic to save time and money by avoiding left-hand turns, the elimination of left-hand turns has been garnering interest and fueling opinions.

The left-hand turn is a highly dangerous maneuver. Court decisions determining the issue of liability arising out of automobile collisions have been stressing for decades that the left turn is a risky procedure requiring a high degree of care. Traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries among both drivers and pedestrians occur more commonly at or near intersections, and the left-turn crash is the type of accident most prone to result in serious injuries.

If you are involved in a collision that causes you injuries, you are entitled to file a claim against the other party and get the rightful compensation for your loss. When you do that, make sure you benefit from expert legal representation by contacting us.

How Dangerous Are Left Turns?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36% of all accidents occur during a turn or within an intersection. Statistics of New York pedestrian and bicyclist crashes show that left turns are twice more fatal than right turns. Pedestrians and bicyclists are severely injured by a left-turning vehicle at over three times the rate of pedestrians and bicyclists adversely affected by a right-turning car. Left turns are also dangerous to motorcyclists because their smaller vehicles can go unobserved by a driver.

Inattention, distraction, blind spots, and even psychology can be blamed for accidents; a driver looking for cars sees merely the absence of cars, not the presence of a motorcycle.

When turning left, the driver needs to cross completely one lane of traffic after waiting for traffic from both the left and the right. This maneuver requires quick and serious decisions. The driver must judge the speed and distance of the oncoming vehicles and make sure they have enough time to turn. To further complicate this maneuver, it is possible that pedestrians will be crossing the street into which the driver is attempting to turn.

Improving the Safety of Left Turns

Various solutions have been proposed by transportation experts to solve the problem of left-hand crashes. One solution suggests a greater offset of the left turn lane of oncoming traffic to the right, allowing a better view of the oncoming traffic.

Another proposed solution is to give left-turning vehicles their own turning phase. For an allotted period, the movement in an intersection would be restricted to left turns only. However, this measure is not feasible at every intersection, which allows left turns.

New York City's Vision Zero, a New York Department of Transportation (DOT) initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries, implements various measures. For example, installing leading priority intervals at intersections and testing safer, slower left turn designs, like marking a guiding radius, placing permanent plastic delineators, or rubber curbs with delineators on the double centerline. DOT also takes every opportunity to incorporate left-hand restrictions, dedicated left-turn signals, and protected bicycle lanes.

Why can't you turn left in Jersey? Another solution, developed and implemented in the state of New Jersey since the late 1950s, is to design jughandles that remove left-turning vehicles from higher-speed left lanes. If designed correctly, jughandles are efficient and can reduce the rate of accidents. However, both traffic analysts and the public complain that the design of the current jughandles is obsolete.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Miami's Best Car Accident Attorney

Transportation departments from many states are taking second looks and rethinking the mechanics of making a left turn.

The ultimate goal is to find ways to improve safety and reduce the likelihood of all types of collisions. Accidents involving left-hand turns highlight how important it is to have a highly experienced car accident attorney to represent you.

At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case to establish if the collision was, at least, partially the fault of the other driver, possibly allowing you to file a claim or lawsuit to recover money for your injuries.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.