Some traffic rules are standard throughout the United States. Everyone drives on the right-hand side of the road, for example, and every state requires some sort of insurance on vehicles. Other rules differ slightly from state to state. Highway speed limits and rules regarding u-turns are among some of the common traffic laws that vary in different places.
Despite the difference in rules in different states, there are certain risk factors that contribute to crash risk everywhere. One very common traffic maneuver plays a role in roughly 61% of all crashes that occur at intersections. This maneuver, while legal, may be very dangerous.
What causes more than half of all intersection collisions in the United States?
Left-hand turns leave you quite vulnerable
Drivers operating their vehicles on the right-hand side of the road means that a left-hand turn will take longer to complete than a right-hand turn. It leaves a driver exposed to every oncoming lane of traffic at an intersection, increasing the possibility for something to go wrong as they cross paths with others.
The risk of collisions occurring when a driver turns left, especially at a busy intersection, is so high that many delivery companies plan their routes to minimize or eliminate left-hand turns. Drivers will go around a block or possibly double back, following the same route in reverse, just to avoid turning left.
If you can follow their example, you can potentially reduce your chances of suffering a serious injury at an intersection. Of course, it is nearly impossible for the average driver to always avoid turning left.
Harm reduction can only go so far
No matter how careful you try to be while making decisions at the wheel, you never know what someone else might do in traffic. Even if you were to completely eliminate left-hand turns on your regular daily route to work and back home again, you can’t completely eliminate your risk of a crash, as other drivers are your biggest source of risk. Someone could complete a left-hand turn into the side of your vehicle while you proceed straight through an intersection.
Learning about the leading causes of collision risk could at least help you avoid personal responsibility for any motor vehicle collision you experience.