For some odd reason, left turns are just creepy. We don’t like taking them. They seem unsafe, especially if you need to make that turn while your view is partially blocked by oncoming traffic, trees, or other hazards that keep you from seeing the road. Right turns are the easiest to make and involve the fewest number of accidents. Left turns just aren’t more dangerous, they often cause the most damage. That’s why if you’re involved in a vehicle accident, you need to call the Personal Injury Attorney Hamilton residents have relied on to handle their accident cases.
The reality is left-hand turns aren’t just dangerous, but they can be quite deadly, especially if it happens at high speed. Nearly every other type of accident has a safety function in the car. You have seatbelts and airbags for those types of collisions. On the other hand, the left side of the vehicle doesn’t have much protection at all. If a car barrels toward you at full speed while you’re turning, that’s a recipe for disaster.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, “the operator of a vehicle… intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley approaching from the opposite direction, whenever the approaching vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley is within the intersection or so close to the intersection, alley, private road, or driveway as to constitute an immediate hazard.” This means that a driver turning left does not have the right of way and must wait for oncoming traffic to pass.
You may not realize it, but as many as 36% of all accidents happen at an intersection, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To put that in perspective, left-hand turns account for about 480,000 accidents in total in the United States. Most intersection accidents happen because of following too closely to the vehicle in front and failing to yield to oncoming traffic.
In 2020 in Ohio, there were 253 serious injuries and 26 fatalities due to poor left turns. There are plenty of reasons why left turns are so dangerous, including not having a good view of cross-traffic, failure to yield, not considering blind spots, trying to pull out into a lane too quickly, not judging the speed of other vehicles correctly, and distracted driving.
Because of the speed involved and the lack of protection on the left side of the vehicle, the Department of Transportation states that these types of accidents are often the most fatal. The only thing between you and the other vehicle is the door. Some companies have started to put side airbags in their cars and trucks to help make these types of incidents less deadly.
Make sure you are turning as safely as possible! When making a left turn, make sure that you are doing so safely:
More roundabouts are being constructed across the state to prevent left turns and other traffic accidents. A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers move in a counterclockwise direction until they reach their exit or turn on the right. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, they are designed to be safer and more efficient than a traditional four-way intersection. Roundabouts are safer because the speed within them is low, between 20 and 30 miles per hour, and when entering, the driver only has to watch traffic from the left. While a traditional four-way intersection has 32 potential conflict points, a roundabout only has about eight. Because they are safer, Ohio is adding many roundabouts throughout the state and Butler County is on track to have more than 30 roundabouts by 2022.
Reduced left-turn conflict intersections or restricted crossing U-turns allow for an easier left turn on high-speed, four-lane divided highways. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, in this kind of intersection, traffic is prohibited from turning left or traveling straight through the mainline intersection. Instead, motorists on the side street will turn right onto the mainline and do a legal U-turn at a nearby crossover. A restricted crossing U-turn intersection allows for a more efficient flow of traffic while also reducing conflict points and left turns, which decreases the number and severity of accidents.
Typically, the person who is making the left turn is found to be negligent in a lot of cases. A lot of these turns are made when you don’t have the right of way. That’s what makes them so tricky. You have to wait until traffic is clear, so if you misjudge the turn or don’t see oncoming traffic, you will get the blame, not the person who has the right-of-way. This isn’t always the case, so don’t lose hope if you’ve been in a left-turn accident.
You can prove that the other driver was negligent if they sped up through a yellow or even red light trying to avoid having to stop. They could’ve also been in violation of other traffic laws, such as you have the right of way if the left turn signal was green for you and your turn was otherwise lawful. Either way, if involved in a left-turn accident, you should contact Kruger & Hodges, our personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.