Turning left while driving presents several inherent risks that drivers should be aware of. In fact, it’s so dangerous that some delivery companies tell their drivers not to do it at all. It’s safer to make three right-hand turns instead.
Why is it that turning left is so dangerous and so likely to cause a crash?
Oncoming traffic lanes
The fundamental problem is that left turns require crossing lanes of oncoming traffic, increasing the risk of collisions if misjudged or executed without caution. All it takes is one incorrect judgment call, even by a driver who makes the right call 99 out of 100 times, and an accident can occur.
Misjudgment of speed and distance
Accurately assessing the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles while turning left is crucial. Errors in judgment can lead to accidents. In fact, this is why left-turn motorcycle accidents often occur. Drivers think that motorcycles are farther away or moving more slowly than they are, usually because of their size.
Confusion and miscommunication
Left turns can cause confusion among drivers, particularly when signals are unclear or when multiple vehicles attempt to turn simultaneously, leading to accidents. For instance, drivers will sometimes advance out of turn at four-way stops.
Lack of dedicated turning lanes
In areas without dedicated turning lanes, drivers who are turning left may impede the flow of traffic, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. A lane with a green arrow is safer than one without. But many left turns happen at uncontrolled intersections as drivers turn into parking lots and driveways.
Inexperienced drivers may have limited familiarity with judging gaps in traffic or executing left turns safely, making them more prone to accidents. Experience almost always helps people become safer drivers, but many young drivers simply do not have this experience yet.
Recognizing these risks underscores the importance of cautious and attentive driving when making left turns. Unfortunately, other drivers are going to make mistakes and may turn at the wrong time, cut off other cars and cause accidents. Those who have been injured accordingly may need to seek legal guidance to better safeguard their rights and interests in the wake of a crash.