You Can Become a Safer Driver by Avoiding Left Hand Turns


Image result for Avoiding Left Hand TurnsMaking a left hand turn is one of the most dangerous maneuvers you attempt while driving your car. It can also be the deadliest because you are exposing the thin, weak sides of your car to oncoming traffic; airbags and seatbelts are much less effective in these left hand crashes. Green left turn arrows, roundabouts and “Michigan U-turns” are becoming more popular at busy intersections and safety is improving. But there are many times when you must make a left turn across many lanes of traffic.
Or do you,
United Parcel Service now routes all their trucks to make right turns only:
“UPS’s routing software shaved 20.4 million miles off their routes last year while delivering 350,000 more packages.” and “Turning right decreases safety hazards and delays. If a driver is stuck waiting for traffic to pass with a left blinker on, it’s going to set them back. Jutting out into traffic is also a good way to get side-swiped, especially when driving a big truck” according to Bob Stoffel, Senior VP of UPS.
Think about your neighborhood and subdivision and your route to work, the grocery store and school. Instead of making a beeline to the main road where you must make a left turn, can you go the opposite way and make two right turns to get out to the main road, This may seem like a waste of time and fuel but according to the UPS study you will not wait as long idling your engine while waiting to make the left turn.
We live in a “grid style” subdivision so it’s easy for me to drive a few blocks on residential streets to where the traffic light is. I can then make a left turn under the protection of a traffic signal. Modern subdivisions with curving-winding streets and cul-de-sacs may be more difficult but explore other routes, you may find a path to a traffic signal or where you can make a right turn.
And how about the mall and grocery store, Before you go shopping next time think about your route and the traffic signals in and out of the area. Can you drive to the store and back home again making all right turns, Major shopping areas with restaurants and theaters will have their own traffic signals with green left turn arrows to protect you from traffic. Use the roadways inside the parking area to get to a traffic signal and then make your turn onto the main road.
Many intersections have gas stations, convenience stores or banks right on the corners adding even more danger and complexity to your trip. Have you seen people making a left turn across three and four lanes of traffic trying to get in or out of a gas station, If you get into an accident while making a left turn you will almost always be at fault because left turn traffic is expected to yield to all through traffic. Take a look at the lane stripes close to any intersection. You will see a “double yellow line” which under any circumstance you must not cross. Turning right into or out of these locations is your only legal choice.
The vast majority of our trips in the car are to same places day after day. With little effort we can find new routes avoiding dangerous left hand turns. In just a few weeks these will become habits that will not only save fuel and time but increase the safety for us and our families.