Lawyers For Left-Turn Auto Accidents In Orange County, California
A lot of motorist accidents happen when the driver is making a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic, especially at intersections. These turns require the driver to be aware of not only the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction but also bicycles and pedestrians that are crossing the street as well. With a lot of roadway activity, if the driver is distracted, misjudges the turn or just not paying attention, any turn can result in severe injuries to oncoming motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Prevalence Of Left-Turn Accidents
According to a study performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on auto accidents, left-hand turns accounted for the highest number of crashes in the study, making up 22% of the accidents. The majority, 96.1%, of these crashes were attributed to driver error, either categorized as recognition or decision errors.
- Most recognition errors (44%) involved “inadequate surveillance.” This means that drivers did not make sure it was safe to turn by checking for other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles.
- Decision errors were closely divided between misjudging the other person’s actions, turning with an obstructed view and performing an illegal maneuver.
When compared to other types of accidents, which generally involve factors such as: traveling too fast, driving aggressively or performance errors, left-hand turns were almost always due to the driver’s judgment.
California State Law Relating to Turning Vehicles
According to California state law, drivers turning left must give the right-of-way to vehicles that are traveling the opposite direction. According to California law,
To make a left turn, drive close to the center divider line or into the left turn lane. Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn. Look over your left shoulder and reduce your speed. Stop behind the limit line. Look left, then right, then left again, and make the turn when it is safe. When you turn left, do not turn too soon and “cut the corner” of the lane belonging to the vehicles coming towards you.
Safety suggestion: While waiting to turn left, keep your wheels pointed straight ahead until it is safe to start your turn. If your wheels are pointed to the left and a vehicle hits you from behind, you could be pushed into oncoming traffic.
A left turn against a red light can only be made from a one-way street onto a one-way street. Signal and stop for a red traffic light at the marked limit line. If there is no limit line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. You may turn left into a left-moving, one-way street if there is no sign to prohibit the turn. Yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green light.
Bicyclists and Pedestrians at Risk for Getting Struck by Turning Vehicles
Specific hazards in intersection turn accidents are those that involve bicycles sharing the road. While the driver who is turning left may be aware of the other vehicles they must yield to, often times they do not account for the bicyclist they must yield to as well.
Bicycles and pedestrians can be more difficult for drivers to spot. These accident victims are more vulnerable to injury, making it important for drivers to take the time to see them approaching the intersection before making that turn.
Don’t Let A Driver Get Away With Making A Careless Left-Handed Turn In Front Of You
If you are the victim of a left-hand turn accident, whether you were driving, walking or riding a bike, you may need legal representation to ensure you are financially compensated for your injuries. Jimmie Kang Law Firm is knowledgeable in both state and local personal injury tort laws that pertain to these accidents and will fight to make sure you receive the best possible financial award. We invite you to contact one of our Orange County car accident attorneys from our team for a free consultation to discuss your accident.