Left-turn accidents are inherently dangerous among all motorists, but they are especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Left-turn accidents account for 22.2 of crashes, whereas turning right only accounted for 1.2 percent of all vehicles.
What’s even worse is that these accidents typically lead to permanently affecting injuries. Here’s all that you need to know about left-turn accidents.
Injuries caused by left-turn accidents
It is important to understand the damage caused by left-turn collisions. Common injuries include:
- Skull fractures
- Broken bones
- Bone fractures
- Spine or spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Joint damage
- Abdominal injuries
- Facial injuries
- Road rash
Causes of left-turn accidents
There are a variety of reasons why left-turn accidents are some of the most prominent types of accidents.
Failure to see the rider. Motorcycles are smaller compared to other types of vehicles, so they are deemed less visible to others. Because of it, they are more prone to left-turn accidents, as a motorist doesn’t see the motorcycle coming and thus collides with it the moment it enters an intersection.
Beating the light (while attempting to turn left) or illegally turning left while the light is still red. Sometimes motorists will attempt to turn left even when the light is yellow to avoid stopping at red. There are even motorists who illegally turn left at red due to impatience. But what they may not see is a motorcyclist cruising on by, utilizing his right of way. This temporary blindness to the motorcyclist can cause an accident, injuring and potentially killing the rider.
Passing a vehicle. Left turns can happen in an intersection as you’re changing lanes. However, when motorists are changing lanes to pass slower vehicles, they aren’t always on the lookout for smaller motorcycles. Instead, they may be too focused on the vehicle they are trying to pass.
Distracted driving. Distracted driving is another major issue that occurs on the road and can lead to a left-turn collision with a motorcyclist. Distracted driving applies to any activity that serves as a distraction to the motorist, whether that activity is texting, changing albums on a music app, eating, or even applying makeup.
Who is at fault in a left-turn motorcycle accident?
Most of the time, the motorist turning left is determined to be at fault since they only have the right of way if they are in the process of turning left when the light is green. Otherwise, even when the light is green, the left-turn driver must wait until there is enough time to make a safe turn onto the road. Oncoming traffic, on the other hand, has the full right of way and are not required to slow down to allow the left-turn driver to turn, regardless of the stoplight’s current light.
Of course, there are exceptions. The left-turn driver may not be deemed at fault or fully at fault if:
- The vehicle on the straightaway was greatly exceeding the speed limit.
- The motor vehicle driving straight doesn’t stop at a stoplight or sign.
- It was safe to turn into the lane/road, but an unexpected event prompted a collision, e.g., drunk or distracted driver from oncoming traffic was driving too quickly or was swerving.
- The oncoming driver was reckless and didn’t carry a valid driver’s license.
How to avoid left-turn accidents
Always be on the lookout. As a motorcyclist, you need to be on high alert constantly. Dangers are always surrounding the motorcyclist, so stay on the defensive and keep an eye out.
Slow down. Just like you should keep your eyes peeled for any potential dangers, you should ride at the legal limit and slow down when necessary (such as in inclement weather).
Visibility is key. Always wear light-colored, bright clothing and reflective tape when riding a motorcycle. Remember to be visible for other vehicles, as drivers may struggle with seeing you.
Follow the rules of the road. Most importantly, all motorcyclists should adhere to their state’s road laws. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are often blamed for collisions with other vehicles, for they are not only smaller but also more reckless and thus more dangerous.
If you are involved in a collision with a motorist, please consult an attorney
No matter how cautious you are on the road, and regardless of how visible you are, you may not be able to avoid a left-turn accident with a motorist. The driver turning left may be distracted, may not be able to see you on your motorcycle, may attempt to beat the light, or maybe busy looking at the vehicle they’re attempting to pass.
As a result, you may become a victim in a life-altering accident, with injuries to the skull, brain, joints, abdominals, and more. If you are suffering life-altering injuries and are seeking compensation, please consult a personal injury attorney.
A personal injury attorney will help gather the evidence you need and fight for you, so you’ll be able to get the compensation you deserve, all while you spend time focusing on recovery.