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The hazards of turning left

Have you ever met someone who all but refuses to turn left? There are drivers out there who will take three right turns so that they can avoid one left turn. They’ll get very nervous if forced to turn left at anything other than a controlled intersection with a left-turn light.

As it turns out, these drivers may be onto something. Left turns are actually quite dangerous. Every time you make a left turn, you drive your car deliberately through oncoming traffic lanes. No other maneuver you can make on the road puts you in that type of problematic situation.

Now, the argument for left-hand turns is that the driver simply has to wait for a safe space to cross the lanes. When there’s no oncoming traffic or when the gap is big enough, such a turn doesn’t feel risky.

But what if a driver makes a mistake? For instance, what if the turning driver makes a poor judgment call and tries to rush through a gap that is too small? Every turn is just a judgment call and that means there is room for error. That driver could also make a mistake in reduced visibility, like fog or rain.

Or, what if the oncoming driver is speeding? The turning driver may see how far away the car is, determine that they have space to turn, and then get hit because that vehicle is going twice as fast as it should be.

When left turns lead to accidents because one driver makes a critical error, the other driver may need to seek financial compensation for their costs.


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