Are Left Turns Dangerous?

Have you ever found yourself waiting at an unprotected left turn? The light is green, but you’re just not sure when it’s safe to pull into the intersection. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. A lot of people have anxiety about left turns, and rightfully so. Still, that raises the question: are left turns dangerous, or is it all in our heads?

Left Turn Crashes

Intersections are a hot spot for car crashes and left turns to represent the most significant risk. When you turn left across an intersection, you’re exposing your vehicle to traffic from several different directions (typically cross traffic in both directions and oncoming traffic). On a crowded street, each lane you move through represents an increased risk. If even one driver isn’t paying attention or runs a red light, they could hit you, causing a T-bone accident, which tends to cause more serious injuries.

These risks aren’t hypothetical. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), left turns account for about 20% of the nation’s car accidents (about 1.2 million incidents per year).

The government isn’t alone in this. Major shipping companies and logistics organizations have removed left turns from their routes entirely, citing a reduced risk of collisions, improved gas mileage, and shorter travel times.

Left Turn Safety

Left turns (especially unprotected left turns) can be nerve-wracking. Here are two things to remember next time you’re approaching the intersection.

First, if you’re facing an especially busy intersection and there’s no protected turn light, it may be wise to find an alternative route. This could be as simple as continuing on that road until you find a protected turn or a lower-traffic area.

Second, before pulling into the intersection, pay close attention to the traffic lights and cross-traffic. If your light is turning yellow and there’s a car approaching in the cross lanes, the driver may not slow down in time to prevent a serious crash.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car accident, we’re ready to be the experience on your side. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Dayton car accident attorney from The Attkisson Law Firm, please send us an email or call (937) 230-8330.

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