Most traffic accidents that occur in an intersection are the result of making an “improper left turn”. This article will briefly define the vehicle code for “left turns”, the driver’s responsibilities and safety reminders.
I had just pulled onto the main street and was driving straight in the second lane. As I was passing through the intersection, a car coming from the opposite direction turned left in front of me and we collided. It happened so quickly and I had no time to react. When I finally came to, I was still in my car and people were all around me. I had been knocked out cold, three of my fingers were smashed and I felt like every bone in my body was broken, especially my neck. It was a nightmare after that and all because another driver made a mistake making a left turn.
Definition of improper left turn
A driver is guilty of making an improper left turn at a traffic signal when he or she fails to turn with proper care such as, failing to yield to oncoming traffic or causes oncoming traffic to take any evasive action on the green light.
It is the responsibility of all drivers to make sure that it is clear of any oncoming traffic and safe to turn left in an intersection. If you are impatient, and turn in front of oncoming traffic causing any of the other cars to break, swerve or slow down to miss you, then you are guilty of making an improper left turn.
The most dangerous time to make a left turn is when the light is turning yellow and you think the oncoming traffic is going to stop, but sometimes they do not and an accident occurs.
Note: if the light turns red while you are still in the intersection, you have the right of way to finish making your turn. If a car that now has the green light drives through the intersection and collides into you before you clear the intersection, the other driver’s is at fault for not waiting until the intersection was clear.
There are other popular scenarios of an improper left turn such as when a car making the turn has to slow down or stop in the intersection because a pedestrian is crossing in the crosswalk and blocks oncoming traffic from going through the intersection.
Safety reminders: do not become so impatient and turn left in front of oncoming traffic, wait until it is clear and safe. Watch when the light turns yellow; make sure all oncoming traffic has stopped. Make sure there are no pedestrians crossing the street where you make your turn to avoid having to stop and block traffic.
Turning left at an intersection can be stressful. Do not allow any driver behind you; force you to hurry your decision to turn by honking. Use your turn signal, take your time and make sure all is clear…then make a proper and safe turn.
Article also posted on Triond by Scott Hallock