Traffic signs for left and right turns

Are Left Turns Dangerous?

At first, it sounds like a weird question, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Left turns have always been tricky. They cause traffic congestion in big cities and suburban areas alike. They use more gas, and waiting to make a left turn can actually extend your drive. But these are elements of the problem. The real question is, are left turns dangerous?

Extremely Dangerous

Statistically, left turns are potentially life-threatening. Conservative estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest left turns, especially unprotected left turns, are responsible for 20% of all car accidents. Put another way, making a left turn is 55x more dangerous than making a right turn.

Left turns are so dangerous that most delivery companies have written them out of their GPS algorithms unless absolutely necessary. UPS famously removed left turns from their routes several years ago. Since then, the company has saved hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel, hours of time, and millions in repairs and medical bills.

With Good Reason

There are several reasons why left turns are more dangerous than right turns. A left turn requires that drivers go against traffic, they expose drivers to traffic from three directions at the same time, and many drivers hesitate to measure safe distance in an unprotected left turn. Most left-turn accidents result in T-bones or head-on collisions, two of the deadliest kinds.

By comparison, a right turn allows drivers to go with the flow of traffic and only exposes them to one lane of traffic instead of three. Additionally, a driver with a green light can always make a right turn, but many drivers struggle to make a left turn until the light is about to change.

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, the fastest and safest way to turn left might be to make three rights.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a left-turn accident, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced attorney from Pete Olson Injury Attorneys to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (877) 438-7383.


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