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The Dreaded Left-Hand Turn Accident

In general terms, a car that makes a left-hand turn is almost always found 100% responsible for causing an  accident with another automobile approaching from the other direction and traveling in a relatively straight path. It's known as the dreaded left-hand turn accident and they're more common than you'd ever imagine.

At Service King Atwater Village, we have worked on quite a few vehicles that were damaged in left-hand turn collisions here in Los Angeles, CA and that's why we thought this would be a good topic for this blog.

Traffic laws in most states mandate that if a car is making a left-hand turn, it must always wait until it can make a complete turn in total safety before it enters and moves through oncoming traffic. To be deemed legally responsible or liable for a car accident, a driver must be ruled either careless and/or found to be in violation of any applicable traffic law.  

With left-hand turn accidents, the fault is almost always assigned to the driver making the left-hand turn to yield to traffic. In addition, the site of any property damage caused by cars involved in a car accident makes it challenging for any driver to maintain that the accident occurred in any context other than while making a left-handed turn.

But, that's legal talk and we're surely not attorneys, so here are some bottom line answers about left-hand turns and how they can impact you as a driver:

Federal data has shown that 53.1% of all crossing-path crashes involved left-hand turns, but only 5.7%  involved right turns. That’s almost 10 times as many collisions involving left-hand turns as opposed  to right-hand  turns and that's a scary number indeed. A study conducted by a panel of New York City’s transportation planners surmised that left-hand turns were 66% more likely to cause a deadly accident  involving a pedestrian when compared  to right-hand turns.

On top of this, 36% more fatal accidents involve left-hand turns happen vs. right-hand turns, so the numbers are obviously skewed toward making as few left-hand turns as possible. Many cities have eliminated many left-hand turns in their downtown and heavy traffic areas to alleviate this problem.

The #1 objective of this blog is for our readers to be a little more cautious when encountering left-hand turns. Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel and anticipate the unexpected and you will walk away safe and injury-free. We can't completely avoid left-hand turns, but we can sure avoid accidents by being wary and playing it smart.

Sources: NHTSA, AARP and


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