Intersections are innately dangerous for drivers. When you have to come into close proximity with other vehicles, especially if they are not traveling in the same direction as you, the potential for collision is always there.
Many factors contribute to intersection collisions. Poor urban design that results in intersections with blind corners, drivers who only come to a rolling stop and distracted drivers are among the many reasons that intersection collisions are so common.
Of course, the way you drive at an intersection also matters. When you look at the maneuvers performed immediately prior to a crash, a trend emerges. What maneuver is responsible for approximately 61% of all collisions that occur at intersections?
Left-hand turns leave you very exposed
When you turn left at an intersection, you will be exposed to every other oncoming lane of traffic at some point during the process. Additionally, you will likely have to travel at relatively slow speeds while completing the turn. Despite the fact that people turn left roughly as often as they turn right or proceed straight through an intersection, a left-hand turn causes a disproportionate number of wrecks.
Left-hand turns are the maneuver one of the drivers intended to perform in 61% of the collisions that occur at intersections. The risk of a left-hand turn is so serious that many commercial delivery companies intentionally plan their routes to minimize left-hand turns. Drivers may sometimes go around a block to avoid turning left.
Do you have to stop making left-hand turns?
Given that nearly two-thirds of intersection collisions involve a left-hand turn, you may start to wonder whether you should follow the examples set by transportation businesses. Eliminating left hand-turns could make driving significantly more inconvenient for someone without a professional planning their route.
The truth is that awareness of the risk may be enough to help protect you. When you recognize that a left-hand turn makes you vulnerable and increases your risk of a crash, you can make better choices about when and how you perform such a maneuver. Employing defensive driving techniques and monitoring traffic extra closely could both help you reduce your risk.
Identifying common causes of motor vehicle collisions can help you change your behavior to reduce your collision risk.