Often when driving, we focus on finding the fastest route. Yet if it involves a lot of left turns, it may be safer to choose a slower way.
Left turns account for six in 10 of all intersections crashes. The problem with them is that you run the gauntlet across the path of oncoming vehicles. If you or they misjudge it or your car stalls halfway, there is a high chance of a side-on collision.
Many signaled intersections stop the oncoming traffic so you can turn left across them in safety. Yet, sometimes the time allowance is too short, and a collision can occur if anyone is too eager or slow. Increasing the time the lights allow for people to turn left is not always feasible as it must work with the rest of the area’s traffic needs.
What can you do at a personal level?
If you feel a particular intersection is problematic for left turns, you could petition the local council. Yet changing road policy is a complex and slow issue.
The simplest option is to reassess your route choices. Try timing your typical left-turn route, then compare it to an alternative where you need to make a few more turns, but they are all right-handers. You may find that the longer route is not much slower due to less time spent waiting to turn across a busy intersection. It should prove safer, too.
However, collisions can still happen because many drivers drive poorly. If you are injured due to someone else’s driving, seek help to understand your legal options.