Making a left turn may be a routine driving maneuver, but it is actually far more dangerous than many people realize. In countries like the United States where we drive on the right side of the road, turning left goes against the flow of traffic, and when we do this, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
Just how dangerous are left turns? Ask UPS.
In a CNN story that was published a few years ago, it was reported that UPS structures its routes to avoid left turns whenever possible. They have actually been doing this since the 1970s, and today the use very expensive and sophisticated routing software to steer their drivers away from having to make a left.
So why would the world’s largest ground courier want to minimize the amount of left turns its drivers make? As you might guess, the primary reason is to save money.
UPS’s policy of minimizing left turns saves them money in two ways. First of all, this practice reduces the average driver’s route by 6 to 8 miles, saving the company 10 million gallons of fuel each year and reducing its CO2 emissions by 100,000 metric tons. The fuel savings and CO2 reduction (provided by avoiding left turns) is roughly the equivalent of taking 21,000 of their vehicles off the road.
The second way UPS saves money is through driver safety. As we talked about earlier, taking a left turn is inherently more dangerous than turning right or going straight, so by not turning left unless it is unavoidable, drivers are far less likely to get into an accident. And of course, fewer accidents means less of a chance that their drivers will get hurt, and lower insurance premiums.
Who is At Fault in a Left Turn Accident?
A study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the vast majority of crashes that occur at an intersection involve a left turn driver. There are a number of reasons why this is the case:
- Because you are crossing in front of oncoming traffic, it can be difficult to calculate the correct rate of acceleration necessary to cross the intersection safely.
- When driving a larger vehicle, it is harder to see pedestrians and smaller objects that are on your left side.
- There are times when drivers who are turning left forget to signal, which means others are not aware of their intention to turn.
Because making a left turn is risky, it is sometimes assumed that the driver who was turning left is the one at fault if a collision occurs. A lot of times, this is true, but it is not always the case. Every situation is unique, and there are specific factors with each case that will determine the cause of an accident.
Here are a few examples of instances when a driver turning left might not be at fault if an accident occurs:
- The left turn driver had a green arrow and the driver coming from the other direction went through a red light.
- There was a green light in both directions, but the driver coming from the other direction was exceeding the speed limit at the time of the crash.
- The driver coming from the other direction was distracted by his/her phone and did not see the vehicle that was turning left.
- The driver coming from the other direction was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash.
- The accelerator on the vehicle turning left failed and the vehicle was hit after getting stuck midway through completing its turn.
An extensive investigation would need to be performed in order to get to the bottom of how the accident occurred. This might include reviewing the police report, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing any video footage of the event that might be available.
After a review, it might become clear that a driver other than the one turning left caused the accident, or a party other than the drivers involved was at fault, such as the maker of a defective product. In a case like this, it is very important to get an experienced attorney involved early on, so they are best able to gather all of the facts and pieces of evidence necessary to put together the strongest possible claim.
Injured in a Left Turn Accident in Alabama? Contact a Seasoned Auto Accident Attorney
If you or someone close to suffered injury in a left turn accident, you might have a right to compensation. But before talking to the insurance company or anyone else about the accident, it is best to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer who can thoroughly assess your case. By speaking with a lawyer, you will be informed of your legal rights and options, so you can make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.
If your accident occurred in Alabama, Burge & Burge is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at 205-251-9000 for a free consultation with a member of our legal team. We look forward to serving you!