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Left-Turn Motorcycle Crashes: One of the Most Common and Deadly Accidents

Left-turn accidents are one of the most common and deadly types of motorcycle crashes. A left-turn crash occurs when a vehicle turns left and collides with an oncoming motorcycle. These accidents can be catastrophic for motorcyclists and result in severe injuries or death. As a motorcyclist, it’s critical to understand why these crashes happen and how to avoid them.

Common Causes of Left-Turn Crashes

There are several reasons why left turns are so dangerous for motorcycles:

Driver Fails to See Motorcycle

A major factor in left-turn crashes is a driver simply failing to see the oncoming motorcycle. Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than cars, making them harder to spot. Drivers often look for larger vehicles and don’t notice the motorcycle coming towards them.

Driver Misjudges Speed

Drivers turning left need to judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic. However, it can be more difficult to gauge the speed of a motorcycle compared to a car. Drivers may think they have enough time to turn when they actually don’t.

Blind Spots and Obstructions

Blind spots caused by window pillars, mirrors, and other vehicles can obstruct a driver’s view of a motorcycle when checking for oncoming traffic. This increases the chance that a motorcycle will seem to appear out of nowhere.

Distracted Driving

Driver distraction greatly impairs awareness and reaction time. A driver talking on a cell phone, texting, or otherwise not fully focused on the road is at high risk of missing an oncoming motorcycle and turning in front of it.

Motorcycle Left-Turn Hazards

While driver error is the main cause, the rider also faces hazards when dealing with left turns:

Speed and Distance Misjudgment

Like drivers, riders can also misjudge the speed and distance of an oncoming car when turning left. Taking a left turn too tightly can put the rider at risk.

Limited Visibility

A motorcyclist sits lower than car drivers, which can make it harder to see oncoming vehicles around obstructing traffic or visualize gaps in traffic to turn through.

Vulnerability in Intersections

The complexity and congestion of intersections leave little room for error. A motorcyclist is vulnerable to cars changing lanes or emerging from blind spots in an intersection.

Slippery Surfaces

Spilled fluids, gravel, and steel plates wreak havoc on two wheels but barely affect cars. Unsafe road conditions in an intersection can cause the motorcycle to slide or tip over.

Preventing Left-Turn Crashes

While left-turn accidents are an inherent risk, smart riding and driving can reduce the chances of a collision:

Bike Visibility

Riders should make themselves as visible as possible. Use high beams during the day, wear bright colors, and consider aftermarket lights. Loud pipes can also help alert drivers.

Cautious Turns

Motorcyclists should slow down, cover their brakes, and watch for sudden moves from other vehicles when approaching intersections or turning left. Avoid turning in tight spaces.

Driver Awareness

Drivers need to diligently check for motorcycles before turning left, looking multiple times. Take extra care near intersections. Avoid distraction and always use turn signals.

Defensive Positioning

Riders should move to where they are most visible to traffic. When going straight through an intersection, stay out of a driver’s blind spot. When turning left, stay behind cars instead of next to them.

Safe Following Distance

Maintain a larger following distance to allow more reaction time. But don’t follow so far that a car will try to cut in front.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers today for a free case review. We have a proven track record of obtaining compensation for clients injured in all types of motorcycle crashes.

Visit one of our offices at:

  • Orlando – 315 Park Lake Cir., Orlando, FL 32803
  • Tampa – 11700 N. 58th St., Ste. A, Temple Terrace, FL 33617
  • Kissimmee – 1052 E. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34744
  • Poinciana – 4663 Old Pleasant Hill Road, Poinciana, FL 34759
  • Davenport – 40230 US Highway 27, Suite 140, Davenport, FL 33837
  • Bradenton – 409 6th Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208

Or call now for a free consultation on (888) 522-0222.

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