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Why are Left Turn Auto Accidents So Deadly?

Many of us have experienced uneasiness in making left turns. After all, car crashes involving left turns are often serious, particularly when high speeds are involved. This is because the sides of vehicles, where there is less protection, are often struck in these accidents, which can lead to deadly injuries. It probably will not soothe your anxiety to learn that each year, many left-turn accidents occur in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has found through data compilation that between 2010 to 2014, left turns represented 4% of all accidents. That might not seem like a lot, but it is actually the sixth most common type of accident in the state. It can be helpful for all drivers in Ohio to understand some important details about left turns and how to stay safe while making them.

The Great Danger of Left Turns

Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that approximately 36% of all motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections. This means that more than 480,000 of these accidents annually involve drivers making left turns. There are several factors that could result in left turn accidents:

  • Drivers have impaired views while turning
  • Illegal maneuvers including failure to signal or failure to yield
  • Incorrectly measuring the distance across an intersection
  • Misjudging the speed of other nearby vehicles

Not only do a large number of vehicles end up in left-turn accidents, but the Department of Transportation has also found that accidents involving left turns are the most common cause of fatalities.

Presumptions of Negligence in Drivers Turning Left

Not only are left turn accidents common but when they do occur, there is a presumption that the driver making the left turn was negligent. This is because drivers turning left often do not have the right of way and must wait for a safe spot in oncoming traffic before turning. Meanwhile, vehicles driving straight in a lane likely have the right of way when traveling through an intersection.

Subsequently, when left-turn accidents occur, there is often a presumption that the driver making the turn was negligent and responsible for the accident. Drivers turning left can satisfy the burden of proof that they were not negligent by presenting evidence that places the fault for the accident on the other driver. Some types of evidence that can demonstrate that the other driver was responsible for a left turn accident include:

  • The other driver increased his or her vehicle’s speed after a light at the intersection turned yellow
  • The other driver ran a red light at the intersection and violated traffic laws
  • The other driver was required to stop mid-turn and as a result, an accident occurred
  • The other driver was violating traffic laws while operating the vehicle which might include driving while distracted or driving while intoxicated

How to Stay Safe While Making Left Turns

As you can see, there are a number of factors that make left turns risky. By following some strategies, however, it is possible to reduce the risk of ending up in a left-turn accident. Drivers should remember to:

  • Follow all traffic laws, which includes not making left turns where you are prohibited from doing so.
  • If you see a break in traffic, make sure that you can safely enter traffic with enough time to avoid a collision with any vehicles that might be behind yours.
  • Look ahead in the direction of the turn, remaining observant of pedestrians as well as vehicles. Left-turn accidents in which a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle often result in catastrophic injuries.
  • Make sure that your view is not obstructed by the landscape, foliage, buildings, or anything else. If it is, drive with the highest degree of caution.
  • Remain observant of posted speeds and how faster the surrounding drivers are traveling. You should avoid going beyond this speed.
  • Stay patient and remember that drivers going straight often have the right of way at an intersection
  • Turn on turn signals before making a left turn

Some people even decide to go so far as to avoid making any left-hand turns while driving. While this will require additional planning, it is worth considering if you are particularly fearful of left-turn accidents. While making only right turns might take longer, it will completely eliminate your chances of ending up in a left-turn accident.

Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

No matter if you or a loved one is involved in a left turn or any other type of accident, the results can be serious. If you or your loved ones need the assistance of an experienced accident attorney, contact Kruger & Hodges today.

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