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Drivers: Stop making those left-hand turns

Drivers, it's time to take a stand for safety and stop taking left-hand turns. At the very least, stop taking them on city streets where you're risking a wreck.

Taking a left is almost never necessary in a city, especially those that were planned according to modern designs along some kind of grid. Ask any experienced cab driver about it. You'll probably get a quick explanation of how it's faster and easier to take three rights during rush hour downtown than it is to take one left turn. In fact, all a left-hand turn is likely to get you is stuck in a traffic jam and a headache.

Are left-hand turns really that bad? Absolutely. In fact, they're often deadly. According to government studies, more than half of all crossed-path accidents come about when vehicles are turning left. Left-hand turns by passenger vehicles are responsible for more than a third of the fatal accidents among motorcyclists. One study even showed that left turns cause three times more deaths than right turns.

Traffic lights that include a "left-turn only" area can make turning left a lot safer. They create a small gap in traffic before the rest of the lights turn green, so drivers can turn without fear of the traffic from the opposite direction. They also help vehicles avoid hitting pedestrians. The "walk" sign doesn't usually come on for pedestrians until the left-turn arrow has vanished.

Without those signs, however, taking a left is ill-advised and could easily lead to a bad car accident. Left turns force drivers to cross in front of moving traffic. They also have to carefully move between pedestrians trying to get through the crosswalks. Often, vehicles trying to go left get stranded in the middle of the intersection when the lights change -- forcing them to hurry through their turn as they dodge the cross traffic that's ready to move.

There's so much danger in left-hand turns that some cities restrict them during rush hours. Some companies that specialize in delivery, like UPS, have even instructed drivers to forgo left-hand turns whenever possible. So, for safety's sake...do the right thing and avoid those left-hand turns starting today.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
1300 5th Ave., Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-434-1400
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