A motor vehicle collision can occur almost anywhere and as the result of a broad range of mistakes. Actions ranging from misreading a sign to misjudging someone else’s speed could lead to a crash.
However, certain decisions and maneuvers on the road have a stronger correlation with increased crash risk than others. One maneuver, in particular, so dangerous that researchers say it causes more than half of all collisions that occur at intersections in the United States. Many delivery companies plan their routes to avoid this maneuver whenever possible.
What driving decision increases your risk of a collision at an intersection?
Left-hand turns are very dangerous
Drivers in the United States operate their vehicles on the right-hand side of the road, so left-hand turns result in a lot of exposure when crossing an intersection. Especially when people do not properly signal their intention to turn or when the driver turning or someone near them makes an inaccurate judgment about what others will do at an intersection, a crash could easily occur.
Crash data indicates that 61% of collisions at intersections involve a vehicle turning left. The risk of a left-hand turn resulting in a crash is high enough that major delivery companies will often plan routes that take their drivers all the way around a block just to avoid a left-hand turn.
How can this information help you?
Whenever possible, it is best to plan your route so that you don’t have to make a left-hand turn, especially at dangerous and busy intersections. The more traffic there is near an intersection, the more likely you already crossed paths with someone being irresponsible or distracted at the wheel.
Of course, left-hand turns are perfectly legal driving maneuvers, and there will be sometimes when you cannot avoid making one. When you know the connection between turning left and the increased risk of a crash, you may monitor your surroundings more carefully and effectively protect yourself from a collision.
Regardless of whether you intended to turn or proceed straight through an intersection, you may be able to file an insurance claim or even a civil lawsuit against someone who causes a crash through unsafe driving habits. Learning more about the top causes of car crashes could reduce your risk of experiencing one.