The Danger of Left Turns

How many left turns did you make on your drive into work this morning?

Most have to stop and think through their commute to arrive at an answer. It’s not an experience that stands out, it’s routine and practiced for most drivers.

But according to a 2001 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, based on 1.7 million car crashes, a left-hand turn is 10 times more likely to lead to a collision than a right turn. In left-turn crashes, the impact also tends to be more severe. Collisions are more likely to be head-on or at a right angle, whereas in right turns the collision tends to be more of a glancing blow or sideswipe.

You cross more lanes of traffic making a left turn. There are more variables at play, which means decisions to make for the driver. At the same time, auto insurance rates continue to rise due to higher frequency of crashes and claims, increasing cost of vehicle repair, and rising medical costs. Companies managing vehicle fleets may not be able to influence the last two factors, but they can reduce claims by training their drivers in collision avoidance.

UPS, for example, cut left turns out of driver’s routes, which allowed them to not only reduce crashes, but also improve efficiency by spending less time idling at intersections. That also meant they could save money on fuel and reduce their carbon footprint.

But sometimes left turns are simply unavoidable. Companies can mitigate the risk by implementing broad fleet safety measures with the help of an experienced insurance partner.



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