Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Why Left Turns Are the Most Dangerous Maneuver

Posted by Dev Sethi | Jan 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

Well. My son is now on the cusp of driving. By the end of this month he will have finished up his driver's ed classes, and he should have his driver's license. A few years back, I shared my experiences as my daughter started driving.

As I ride around in the passenger seat, I take time to share some tips and suggestions with the newest driver in the family. Tip #1 remains – Left Turns Are the Most Dangerous. Left turns are so dangerous that many companies in the business of driving avoid them all together. UPS has famously had a “No Left Turn” policy for over a decade. And there is even growing commentary that left turns should be abolished.

"Left Turn Signal" sign with a stop light that is showing the green arrow pointing left

A study on crash factors from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association found that turning left is one of the leading “critical pre-crash events” (an event that makes a collision inevitable), occurring in 22.2% of crashes, as opposed to only 1.2% for right turns. About 61% of crashes at intersections involve a left hand turn.

What makes left hand turns so risky? These turns require drivers to multi-task and focus their attention on several different places. They also require acceleration from a stopped place of safety across the path of oncoming traffic. Left turns take drivers against traffic and into the path of oncoming cars, and most take place at the driver's discretion.

So, what to tell a new driver? Be actively aware and cautious at all times, but especially when preparing for a left turn. And if possible, turn left at intersections with dedicated left turn arrows.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.

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