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Left-Hand Turns and Pedestrian Accidents

Posted on in Pedestrian Accidents

Illinois accident attorney, Illinois pedestrian accident lawyer, Illinois car crash lawyer,Every day, traffic converges all across our state’s roadways, often causing unfortunate pedestrian accidents that are at times inevitable. While we cannot avoid each and every pedestrian accident that takes place, a number of collisions are able to be prevented, however, especially when drivers are at their utmost level of alertness when operating vehicles and are made aware of the dangers they pose to those commuting by foot. Studies show that drivers making left turns at intersections are particularly prone to causing accident and injury to pedestrians when their paths cross. Drivers who collide with pedestrians commonly experience injury as well, at times making impact with other vehicles in the midst of the collision.

Pedestrian Accidents More Common in Urban Areas

Pedestrian accidents and injuries are reported to be much more common in busier, urban areas, which further confirms other statistics that show intersection-related accidents - such as those that involve left-turning drivers - do in fact pose an increased, significant risk to pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 40 percent of pedestrian accidents happen solely at intersections. All of these findings make sense, considering urban intersections are full of sprawling, constant traffic activity.

Why Left-Turning Drivers Pose Such a Risk

As drivers make left turns at signalized lights, they face a variety of challenges when crossing paths with pedestrians. Researchers have discovered that left turns, in general, are four times more dangerous to pedestrians than traffic simply passing by. For one, left-turning drivers must contend with other oncoming vehicles, as they need to wait for them to fully pass through before making their turn. They must also keep their eyes on the traffic light before them and any additional activity happening around them at the intersection, which requires peripheral observation and overall multitasking effort.

Another factor that has been shown to place drivers at risk for causing pedestrian accidents as they turn left is inconsistency in traffic signals. Studies show that certain intersections utilize signals that are not consistent within their jurisdiction or surrounding jurisdictions - flashing lights to represent a protected left-hand turn, for example. Permissible right-hand turns are at times more clear cut. This has been shown to confuse drivers as they approach signals, as they may expect one signal style only to discover the type and interpretation of the signal are different than what they are normally accustomed to.

The Pedestrian Role

Pedestrians interacting with left-hand-turning drivers play a role in collision incidents, too, of course. Just as drivers must multitask and remain alert of their surroundings as they make turns, pedestrians play a part in collision prevention by obeying crosswalk instructions and looking in each direction before (and during) the time they cross. The avoidance of cell phones and other devices is also important, as anything that distracts from the observance of crosswalk signal instructions poses a threat to safety.

If you have experienced accident or injury at an intersection due to a poorly executed vehicle turn or someone else’s negligence, speak with a skilled Lake County pedestrian accident attorney right away to inquire about your rights and potential compensation for your injuries. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. today at 847-662-3303 for your personal consultation.


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