Why Are So Many Car Accidents Caused by Drivers Making Left Turns?

In early December, a 17-year-old boy was killed in a car wreck in Franklin County. Per a WRAL-TV report, prior to the deadly crash, the 17-year-old victim was driving a Ford pickup truck on John Winstead Road. At the same time, the other driver involved the wreck was traveling the opposite direction on John Winstead Road in a Toyota SUV. As the two vehicles approached the Pearces Road intersection, the driver of the Toyota attempted to make a left turn, crossing in front the Ford’s path in the process. The driver of the pickup truck tried to avoid hitting the SUV but was unsuccessful. The 17-year-old driver’s truck hit the Toyota on its front right side. The force of the collision led to the young man being thrown from the Ford.

After the wreck, the 17-year-old driver was transported to WakeMed for treatment, but ultimately succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the Toyota was treated for minor injuries. He is facing charges for misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in connection with the crash.

Reportedly, neither alcohol nor speeding was believed to be a factor in the wreck. Could this mean that the driver making a left turn is to blame for this deadly crash? Drivers making left turns are not something we usually think of as a leading cause of car accidents. Drunk driving, speeding or distracted driving, sure, but making a left turn would not on its surface seem to be that dangerous. However, after an accident such as this, it’s becoming clearer why some are making a case that drivers making left turns are too dangerous to allow.

Should We Really Not Allow Drivers to Make Left Turns?

While this seems unlikely to happen, back in 2014, The Washington Post featured a story making the case for not (or at least rarely) making left turns while driving. In the piece, the Post cites federal data that shows that only 5.7 percent of crossing-path car wrecks involve right turns, while 53.1 percent involve drivers making left turns.

A person from the Institute of Transportation Engineers told the Post in the article that eliminating left turns would be positive, because it lessens the potential for accident situations and traffic congestion. One suggestion for replacing left turns is diverging diamond interchanges. Another option would be to restrict left turns to intersections where there are left turn traffic signals. Shipping giant UPS has made minimizing and eliminating left turns part of its policy for its drivers, because the company believes it improves safety and efficiency.

What do you think about restricting drivers’ ability to make left turns? Good idea? Crazy idea? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages.



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