Over 60% of auto accidents at intersections are left turn accidents, in which a driver turning left hits another vehicle approaching going straight. And 95% of all left-hand turn accidents are blamed on the left-turning drivers.
In almost all left-hand turn car accident cases, the driver making the left turn is found at fault.
Left-hand turns are extremely prevalent and dangerous because they force the driver to make complex judgments in a short period of time. Is the light about to change? How fast is the oncoming traffic? Why is the person behind me honking?
The entire experience of making lefts can provoke serious driver anxiety, as evidenced by the number of left-hand car accidents caused by nervousness and panic. In addition, drivers making left-hand turns have to gauge the speed and distance of the oncoming vehicles. At big intersections, oncoming traffic tends to accelerate to catch lights.
Bottom line: the more a driver has to process, the more likely a mistake will be made.
In the state of Florida, drivers who are making a left-hand turn at intersections are required by law to yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. According to section 316.122v, left-hand turning drivers must stop and wait for any vehicle that is “so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Thus, if a driver making a left-hand turn strikes another vehicle, he or she will most likely be found at fault.
How to avoid left-hand turn collisions
The next time you find yourself about to make a left-hand turn, remember the following safety tips to avoid collisions.
- Completely stop before making a left-hand turn. Even if there is no traffic in sight, stop to ensure you have clear visibility of your surroundings.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to what is going on around you, such as the activities of other drivers and pedestrians.
- Leave enough room to safely clear the intersection. If you need to frantically accelerate to make it, it’s probably better to wait.
- Be patient. Above all else, remain calm. Do not feel pressured to make rash decisions. You have the right to wait for as long as you need to safely cross the road or intersection.