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Left Turn Car Accident

If a negligent driver recently caused you harm in an intersection accident, there is a good chance that they were making a left-hand turn.

Busy intersections can confuse drivers and a common place to get hit by another car. One of the most common mistakes a driver makes is the daring left-hand turn, where they must cross through one traffic lane and safely enter a second. Traffic engineers have recognized this risk and will install special traffic lights at intersections with many left-hand turn activities. However, these still don’t prevent all accidents.

Causes of Left Turn Intersection Accidents

Even with traffic lights in place, speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and even human error can all cause major intersection accidents. Left-hand turn maneuvers are all the more dangerous as they involve multiple lanes of traffic coming from two different directions. If you were injured in such an accident, you probably never even saw it coming.

Why Are Left Turns So Dangerous?

Sudden Stops

One of the biggest dangers of making a left turn is that you may have to stop unexpectedly. This can be due to several reasons, such as another car unexpectedly pulling out in front of you or a pedestrian walking into the crosswalk. Sudden stops can lead to confusion or cause you to lose control of your car, increasing the risk of an accident. 

Blind Turns

Another danger of left turns is blind spots. As anyone who has ever driven knows, blind spots are areas on the road where you can’t see what’s happening around you. This presents a major risk when making left turns, as other cars traveling at high speeds may be in your blind spot and thus invisible to you. This can lead to serious accidents, especially when turning onto a busy street. 

Fortunately, you can take certain safety precautions to reduce the risks associated with left-turn-related blind spots. This includes using turn signals more carefully or increasing following distances between vehicles to increase reaction time if another car does appear unexpectedly in your blind spot. You can also take extra care by merging over slightly further from the center line before beginning your turn. This can help minimize the chances you’ll veer too far out into traffic once you start turning. 

Inability to Judge Speed

When making a right turn, you can usually tell how fast oncoming traffic moves. However, judging the speed of oncoming traffic when making a left turn can be more difficult. Misjudging the speed and turning it into oncoming traffic can lead to an accident. 

Poor Vantage Point

You have a good vantage point of oncoming traffic when making a right turn. However, other cars or obstacles often obscure your vantage point when turning left. This makes it more difficult to see oncoming traffic, which can result in an accident.

Unfamiliar Intersections

Another danger of left turns is that they often involve unfamiliar intersections. This means that you may not know the layout of the intersection or what type of traffic pattern to expect. This can lead to confusion and accidents. 

Traffic Lights

Left turns also often involve waiting at red lights, further obscuring your view of oncoming traffic. And if the light turns green while you’re still waiting to turn, oncoming traffic may start moving before you can see it, which can lead to an accident. 

Who Is At Fault?

Generally, the driver attempting a left turn is found at fault because that driver must give the right of way to oncoming vehicles and ensure enough space to make the full turn without interrupting traffic flow. However, this rule has some exceptions, and sometimes, it is very difficult to prove fault. Here are a few accident scenarios in which the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident can also be partially or completely at fault.

  • The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident ran a red light or was speeding at the time of the accident.
  • The other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident occurred. However, it would have to be proven by blood alcohol concentration tests.
  • The other driver broke traffic laws immediately before the accident occurred.
  • The other driver indulged in distracted driving, such as mobile phone use.
  • The other motorist did not have a valid driver’s license when the accident occurred.

Safely Making a Left-Hand Turn

Here are some tips to help a driver avoid a left turn accident.

  • Yield the right of way to traffic.
  • Ensure no bicycles, vehicles, or pedestrians are in your path.
  • Signal your intent to turn at least 150 feet in advance.
  • Be extremely cautious.

The summer months are the most dangerous months to be on the roads. This time is sometimes referred to as ‘left-turn accident season’ and with good cause. In the summer, more vehicles are on the roads, increasing the chances of two vehicles colliding. The heat can cause drivers to become fatigued more easily. Additionally, the heat can cause tempers to fray, and people may drive more aggressively. The number of drunk drivers on our roads also increases in the sunnier weather. The number of motorcycles and bicycles on the roads also rises, so accidents are bound to happen.

Why ‘left-turn accident season’?

This time of year is known as left-turn accident season because when a car makes a left turn, it can be easy to miss seeing a biker or a cyclist coming across the opposite intersection if the driver is not paying full attention. Of course, it could also be a car, van, or truck, but these are easier to spot. More often than not, motorcycles and bicycles are involved in these accidents.

Injuries from Left Turn Intersection Accidents

Broken bones, neck injuries, and brain trauma are all common injuries associated with left-hand turn accidents. Recovery time could be long, with large medical bills to show for it. In addition, you may be facing years or even a lifetime of continued care for a grave injury. Our law firm helps by projecting the estimated cost of that care and seeing that it is included in your car accident claim.

Automatic Liability?

Left-turn accidents do not automatically result in liability for the defendant. The defendant can use the issue of contributory negligence to defend cases where the defendant made a left turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. The various ways the plaintiff can be considered negligent are when they are speeding, they could have slowed down, or when the other driver nearly cleared the intersection when the crash occurred.

The above-mentioned defenses can increase the amount of fault allocated to the victim and decrease the defendant’s fault. This can significantly affect the amount of damages that can be recovered.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t let the fear of being found to blame force you into a settlement without first speaking with a lawyer who has extensive experience with car accident claims. With intersection cameras and access to traffic light patterns, our firm has great success in proving negligence in left-hand turn accident claims. If you were injured or lost a family member in a car accident due to a negligent driver, call our 24-hour legal help number at (314) 361-4242 or toll-free (866) 763-6433.

Free Consultation (314) 361-4242