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How a simple traffic maneuver increases the risk of a wreck

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Driving involves maintaining control over a motor vehicle to perform necessary traffic maneuvers. When done correctly, driving is a safe and efficient way of getting to work and taking care of family needs. People drive so frequently that they may fail to recognize the danger inherent in traveling at high speeds inside a vehicle.

Unfortunately, every choice that people make in traffic can potentially lead to elevated risk of a crash. One common maneuver that people perform out of expediency and necessity has a strong statistical association with preventable collisions. Those who regularly drive may need to evaluate their habits to see if they make the wrong driving choice in scenarios that could lead to a crash. For example, the following legal and common traffic maneuver has the strongest association with collision risk.

Left-hand turns are surprisingly dangerous

People approaching an intersection can head straight through or they can turn. Right-hand turns are often quite quick, as people do not necessarily need to wait for the traffic light to turn. However, left-hand turns often require waiting for a special signal to illuminate or a lengthy break in traffic.

Drivers often turn with a sense of urgency when they must go left, and with good reason. According to an analysis of federal collision data, approximately 61% of all crashes at intersections involve someone turning left. Many crashes on high-speed rural roads also involve left-hand turns.

The risk is so significant that major delivery companies plan driver routes with the intent of eliminating left-hand turns whenever possible. Municipalities have also taken to installing roundabouts at particularly busy and dangerous intersections to eliminate the need to turn left.

Drivers can potentially account for this known traffic hazard by rerouting so that they can make multiple right turns instead of one left turn. They may also want to plan a trip that requires a left-hand turn for a time when they know traffic levels are usually lower.

Motorists who understand how different choices contribute to their chances of a motor vehicle collision can make more safety-conscious decisions in traffic. Learning about the factors that help cause crashes can lead to better risk management for those who drive frequently.