Think about the routes you frequently take — for example, to get to the store or return home from work. Now count how many left turns you make and how many right turns. If you are making several left-hand turns, you may be putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
A recent study found that over one-third of crashes happen at intersections, with 1.2% occurring while turning right, 12.6% when going straight and 22.2% while turning left.
Why are left-hand turns more dangerous?
The study found that 96% of all intersection crashes were the fault of a driver. Here are the primary driver errors noted on left turn crashes:
- Making wrong assumptions about another driver
- Turning without a clear view
- Being distracted
- Misjudging another vehicle’s speed
There is much more to consider when turning left than turning right, both for the driver making the turn and those coming in the opposite direction whose path the driver must cross.
By contrast, when turning right, you do not cross the path of anyone. When going straight ahead, it is clear who has the right-of-way, and many intersections have stoplights to ensure that those traveling north to south only move once those traveling east to west stop.
So what can you do?
When sitting at home, look at a map of your frequent routes up and determine where you could replace a left turn with a couple of rights. Then try them. You may find that it is quicker as well as safer, as turning left across oncoming traffic often requires a long wait.
You will likely still need to make some left turns. Just be aware of the extra danger and if someone hits you, seek help to understand your legal options.