Left-turn collisions occur when a car, truck, motorcycle, or ride share vehicles initiates a left turn in front of an oncoming driver. For obvious reasons, these accidents primarily happen at intersections. Left turn accidents usually occur when one driver is trying to pass another vehicle that is waiting for oncoming traffic, is driving into an intersection without proper authority, or is trying to beat a turn signal that is changing colors. If you have been injured in a left turn car accident, you can claim compensation by filing a car accident injury claim. You may recover damages such as your medical expenses, any wages that you may have lost because of your injuries and recovery, and any pain that you have suffered.
Maryland law states that the driver of a vehicle intending to turn right at an intersection shall make the turn as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. As for left turns, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
Additionally, Maryland law states that if any governing authority (state, county, or local) installs a traffic control device at an intersection, then the driver must obey that traffic device. This is true even if that device directs the drivers to take a different course than what is provided in Maryland Statute. In sum, Maryland law determines how a driver is to turn at an intersection unless a traffic light instructs otherwise.
How Common Are Left Turn Car Wrecks in Maryland?
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, more than half of all auto accidents in which vehicles cross the path of other traffic involve a left turn.
Nationally, more than a fifth of all wrecks include a car turning left. That equates to about 480,000 crashes a year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Maryland Department of Transportation noted about 5,000 auto collisions every year in Baltimore involve making a left turn. Every year, car, motorcycle, ride share, and truck accidents in Baltimore leave about 9,000 people injured.
Determining Fault in a Left Turn Car Collision in Maryland
You cannot automatically assume the driver who turned left was to blame for a car wreck in Maryland. An experienced attorney will look at Maryland’s traffic laws to see if the driver made a prohibited left turn.
Under MD Transportation Code §21-601, drivers who turn left must “approach the intersection… in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction.”
When the driver leaves the intersection, he or she must continue to follow the flow of traffic. If the intersection has a traffic light, the driver must abide by the light. A driver who turns left on red and hits another car is clearly liable for the auto crash.
Left turns on red are legal in Maryland in certain circumstances, namely, the turn takes the driver from a one-way street to another. A driver must yield the right of way.
The issue of the right of way is addressed in MD Transportation Code §21-402. Drivers who turn left at an intersection, driveway, alley, or private road must “shall yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction.”
You must yield the right of way to any vehicle “in the intersection or so near to it as to be an immediate danger.”
State laws are an important starting point in determining fault in a left-turn car wreck in Maryland. They can determine whether the car that made the turn or the driver on the highway was to blame for the collision.
The driver of the vehicle that hits the other is not necessarily to blame. Our Maryland motorcycle accident lawyers help many riders who suffer horrific injuries when they hit a car making a left turn. The driver making the turn often fails to even see the motorcycle rider until it is too late.
Other important factors include the speeds of the drivers and whether any of the parties were distracted or drunk when the accident took place.
Turning left is one of the most hazardous maneuvers drivers make on the roads in Maryland. Given that a left-hand turn often involves a judgment call made in a split second, determining fault in a left-turn car collision in Maryland is seldom straightforward.
Many drivers dislike left turns. While right turns are usually straightforward, left turns often involve crossing the path of oncoming traffic. Drivers misjudge speeds and sometimes do not see smaller vehicles. Left turns in Baltimore, Windsor Mill, Reisterstown, Essex, White Marsh, Dundalk, or all surrounding areas are fraught with danger.
Drivers who make left turns are among the most common causes of intersection collisions in Maryland.
Why Are Left Turns So Dangerous?
Left turns are dangerous because the driver who is making a turn faces many potential distractions, including traffic signals, lights, landscaping, and the actions of nearby drivers.
At a busy intersection at peak times, the driver making the left turn is under a lot of pressure not to hold up traffic. Left turns are risky because:
- Most drivers accelerate going into a left turn. The wider turning radius of the turn and the acceleration put pedestrians at risk;
- Left-hand turns disrupt the flow of traffic;
- Drivers can get confused about using the correct turn lane;
- Left-hand turns usually demand more mental effort than right turns;
- Cars can potentially come from several directions at an intersection;
- Drivers usually must cross at least one lane of oncoming traffic;
- Your view may be obstructed by high-sided trucks, buses, or other vehicles;
- The drivers traveling straight may race to get through the intersection before you turn.
Drivers typically make left turns across oncoming traffic. They may have a green light but must yield to oncoming traffic unless they turn on a green arrow. Although left-turn collisions often occur at low speeds, injuries are often at odds with how fast cars are going.
These wrecks are usually T-bone or broadside accidents. Drivers and passengers are protected by just a few inches of metal. They often sustain serious internal injuries or fractures.
An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report found that side-impact collisions cause a quarter of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.
Given the severity of injuries associates with left-turn crashes, it is important to recover as much money as possible for your pain and suffering, lost wages, and hospital bill.
However, determining fault in a left-turn car collision in Maryland is critical. If a driver is distracted during a left turn, there is a strong change you can get injured and may need an experienced left-turn lawyer.
Determining fault in a left-turn car wreck in Maryland can be difficult. You may have suffered serious injuries but the insurance company for the other driver is telling you, you were totally or partially to blame. If you have been involved in a left-turn crash, reach out to the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt as soon as possible. A member of our legal team is ready to provide a free consultation and discuss the legal options available to you. We have the knowledge and resources to help prove negligence and show that the other driver was at fault for the damages done to you.
There is no risk in calling us to learn more about your rights and no obligation to hire our firm. We work on a contingency fee bases, which means that we do not get paid unless you obtain compensation.