Left Is Not Right (Why Left Turns Cause A Lot of Accidents)

Car accident in the middle of an intersection

Most people make left turns wrong.

How so, you ask? Most drivers fail to allow all oncoming traffic to clear the intersection or yield the right of way before they begin their left turn.

I See It Every Day

I ride my bike almost daily. At least once per ride, I see a vehicle turning left in front of oncoming traffic before it is safe to do so. Many times, that oncoming vehicle is me on my bicycle, but just as often it is a two-ton vehicle with living human beings inside.

Either way, the possibility for massive property damage and physical injuries is tangible and frightening.

If That Is The Law…

The law in Illinois is clear: You must yield to any approaching vehicle that poses an immediate danger.

The provisions of 625 ILCS 5/11-902 are short and to the point:

Vehicle turning left. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, but said driver, having so yielded may proceed at such time as a safe interval occurs.

Too many drivers are either unaware of the law, unconcerned about the dangers, or willing to take massive risks to save a few seconds.

If I Don’t Ride, I’ll be Safer…

Today was a planned day off my bike. Rather than riding or pumping iron, I figured my body needed its once monthly recovery day. I took a fast walk around my neighborhood, only to encounter the debris of a massive left-turn crash at a major intersection.

It was clear that one vehicle had attempted to turn left quickly in front of the oncoming vehicle. Both vehicles were destroyed. I could not tell whether anyone suffered injuries.

What is the moral of the story? Every single left turn you take can impact many others, as well as you and your passengers. Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Think before you proceed, when turning left.
  • Before you begin a left turn, make sure the area is clear of ALL traffic (vehicular, pedestrian, AND bicycle), even if you have a green light or green arrow!
  • Know how the law requires you to make a left turn.
  • Think about the consequences — death and maimed people are among them.
  • While you’re turning left, look for bikes, motorcycles, and pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, if you have been hit by a vehicle, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.

If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.