Left-hand turns are a leading cause of accidents
According to the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Association, left-hand turns are a leading critical cause of accidents which occurs more than 22% of the time in all motor vehicle accident cases. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 60% of all crashes that take place while crossing or turning at an intersection involve a left-hand turn.
In many cases, the driver who was making a left-hand turn is the person that is responsible for causing the accident and is generally found to be at fault. Most states, including Connecticut, enact laws that require the driver making the left hand turn to yield to oncoming vehicles.
CT Statute concerning left-hand turns
Connecticut General Statute section 14 – 242 provides, in relevant part, as follows:
- Left turns
- Turns restricted
- Right turns when passing a bicyclist
- Signals to be given before turning or stopping
(a) No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in a proper position on the highway as required by section 14-241, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a highway unless such movement can be made with reasonable safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in section 14-244.
Almost 3 million accidents occur at intersections
Is interesting to note that approximately 3 million motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections. More than 53% of these intersection accidents involved left-hand turns whereas less than 6% of these intersection accidents involve right-hand turns. So left-hand turn accidents occur almost 10 times more frequently than right-hand turn accidents.
Left-hand turn accidents happen suddenly
One of the biggest problems with left-hand turn accidents is that the oncoming vehicle usually does not expect the person making the left-hand turn to pull into the intersection. In most cases, the oncoming motor vehicle will not have a chance to react in time and will hit this vehicle head-on traveling at a speed that creates a devastating impact.
Significant injuries can occur in left-hand turn accidents
The injuries and damages suffered by people involved in left-hand turns can be quite significant because of the speed involved in the accident, the fact that these accidents can involve side end collisions, and because they are so sudden and do not allow for much if any, reaction time.
Our office has handled cases where the person making the left-hand turn claimed that they had the green arrow, and the right-of-way, meaning that the oncoming vehicle had a red light and should have not proceeded through the intersection. These cases are sometimes difficult because of the conflicting stories given by each driver when there are no witnesses to the accident.
Some cases need the services of our private investigator
In one such case, we sent our private investigator out to the area where the collision occurred to find out what cameras might have recorded the collision from various commercial properties located near the intersection. Our investigator was able to find one such video that showed that our client had the right-of-way and the person making the left-hand turn failed to yield to our client’s vehicle.
The CT DOT also provides a source of potential evidence
We have also had situations where we have contacted the Connecticut Department of Transportation to obtain the light sequencing for the intersection traffic light where the collision occurred so we can determine how many seconds transpired between the time the left-hand turn arrow when green and then went red to determine whether or not our client had the right-of-way.
It is important for somebody who was involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by a left-handed turn collision to contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer at the earliest possible moment because there could be investigative issues and matters of proof that need to be looked into to establish the liability on the part of the individual making the left-hand turn.
To find out more about what you need to do to protect your rights and to make sure your case is properly investigated to establish liability on the part of the other driver please contact us.