suburban road with lanes for left turns and bicycles

How Left Turns Become Hazardous

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported for over a decade that left turns are significantly more dangerous than some other actions taken behind the wheel. In fact, about 20% of all crashes involve a driver making a left-hand turn. These rates can also be higher when motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians are involved.

But what about left-hand turns makes them more dangerous? Read on to learn what contributes to this risk factor.

Crossing Into Oncoming Traffic

The most obvious hazard of a left-hand turn is that it puts you in the path of oncoming traffic. This means that you have to wait for a gap in traffic big enough to allow your car to cross safely. If it's a heavy traffic day or cars are speeding, an impatient driver may try to dart through a small gap and put themselves in harm's way.

This is why left turns at intersections with traffic lights often have a protected green arrow. This allows drivers to make their turn without having to worry about other vehicles coming from the other direction.

Changing Lanes

Another hazard associated with left turns is that drivers often have to change lanes in order to complete them. On roads with three or more lanes, this may mean crossing between multiple vehicles in order to make a turn. As we rely more on directions from the maps on our phones, being given instruction with limited reaction time may cause drivers to make erratic decisions in order to complete their left turn.

Blind Spots

Left-hand turns are also more dangerous because they often require drivers to enter blind spots. When making a left turn, drivers may have to cross into the oncoming traffic lane in order to see around obstacles like parked cars. In these instances, a driver significantly increases their risk of a traffic accident because they aren't making themselves visible to other drivers or are making snap decisions without paying attention to others on the road.

New Orleans Car Accident Attorneys

Although left turns are inherently more dangerous, no driver should have to anticipate being involved in a crash with a negligent motorist. Our New Orleans attorneys hold these individuals accountable for the damages they cause. When you need legal help following a car crash, schedule a consultation with our team by calling (504) 475-2429.
 

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