Left Turn“I Think I Can Make It” – You Can’t!

A friend called me this morning because she had witnessed a horrible car accident. (That’s the kind of call a personal injury attorney gets from his friends!) She was shaken up, describing it as “so violent” and that it “looked like one of the cars exploded.”

Now, this sounds like it could be a rare, extraordinary type of accident but it wasn’t. In fact, I learned that it was caused by one of the most common mistakes that drivers make: left-hand turns in front of oncoming traffic.

My friend described the accident like this: A southbound car on Colorado Boulevard was in the left-hand turn lane and decided to turn left onto 8th Avenue. A northbound car slammed into the turning car and then veered off into a nearby bus stop. The turning car “exploded” from the impact. Car parts, glass and liquids scattered across the intersection. Luckily, it appeared as though everyone walked away from the accident and no one was hurt at the bus stop.

I have just one reaction to this: If you’re in a left-hand turn lane and you’re thinking, “I can probably make it,” don’t turn!

We see this type of accident all the time; at least 10 to 20 car accidents like this each year! In the majority of cases, the person making the left-hand turn is found to be at fault. The injuries from this kind of accident are usually pretty bad for both drivers. For the driver who was going straight, it’s the equivalent of hitting a wall. We see lots of broken wrists and broken ankles, as well as much more severe injuries.

What should you do if someone turns left in front of you and you hit them? (Assuming you are not too hurt.) Gather witnesses and take pictures! You need to have witnesses who can corroborate that you had the green light and that the person making the left-hand turn shouldn’t have gone.

But again, I can’t urge you enough to not be the driver who causes a car accident like this. If you aren’t sure you can make the turn, DON’T TURN!