As a US citizen who drives or uses the highways and roads across the country, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the law around left turns when reaching an intersection or signal. But, did you also know that not every left-turn made first is an illegal move?
It’s common knowledge amongst drivers across the country that a left-turning driver has to give way to oncoming traffic- regardless of whether they look for oncoming traffic from the right. However, some accidents at an intersection aren’t always the fault of the driver turning left.
Our accident attorneys have gained substantial experience representing illegal left-turn accident cases and what can make them dangerous. We’ve also handled previous cases where a left-turn driver has appealed their case to prove they weren’t negligent in turning left first as the other driver had failed to slow down before reaching the intersection. Knowing your rights when it comes to left-hand turn accidents is a vital part of successfully filing a case, and working with attorneys who are experienced can make all the difference.
The Highways Traffic law states that an illegal left turn is when the driver fails to stop at the intersection and makes the turn, potentially into oncoming traffic, without stopping at either the signal or intersection. If you’re turning left at a junction, you must always give way to the oncoming traffic unless there are roadworks or signs that state otherwise.
Left-hand turns at an intersection can be dangerous as the driver is attempting to drive across oncoming traffic. If the judgment is off or visibility is compromised, making a left-hand turn that isn’t controlled by a traffic arrow is risky. It’s best to always approach a left-hand turn slowly so you’re prepared to stop and give way to other traffic.
By law in the US, any driver reaching an intersection wanting to turn to the left must give the right-of-way to the vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. That includes vehicles that are within the intersection already or are so close to the intersection they become an immediate hazard. In most cases, if the driver turning left has ignored the approaching vehicle and caused an accident then they’re at fault for not giving way.
Like any legal matter, of course, there are some individual exceptions and these are always taken into consideration by a court as well as your accident attorney as every case is unique.
Generally speaking, the car making a left turn that doesn’t stop first and give right of way is at fault as they’re breaking the law. However, our accident attorneys have previously worked on cases where the client we’ve represented on a left turn accident has appealed their case due to the other driver failing to slow down when approaching the intersection and signaling for the client to make the turn.
In this particular case, the appeal was made because the vehicle turning left did so under the impression the other driver had ‘signaled’ them to carry on. Sadly, the signal was misinterpreted and a head-on accident happened but the court concluded that the car that signaled for the left turn was equally to blame for the accident happening.
If you’ve been involved in a left-turn accident or want some advice on an accident you’ve been involved with, speak to our attorneys today. We offer a free consultation so you can discuss your case with our team and understand the legal consequences.
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