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Left turns continue to be a risky proposition for drivers

Despite the joy of open roads and freeways in Riverside County, driving can be dangerous; especially for pedestrians and bicyclists on city streets. Essentially, left turns are particularly treacherous. According to federal crash statistics, more than half of all crossing-path injuries involve left turns. This is nearly ten times the number of injuries suffered with right turns. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 36 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involve left hand turns.

With so many ominous statistics generated about the danger of left turns, it is not surprising that some safety advocates want to limit left turns; especially when such turns are not controlled by a traffic light. The general public may not be so willing to give them up. The average driver may not be so inclined to believe that driving could be made more efficient by eliminating many of them. 

However, a Washington Post report highlighted the efficiency guidelines of UPS, one of the largest shipping companies on the planet. Basically, left turns create additional safety risks and delays, which causes the company to use more fuel. As such, it plans its routes so that many left turns are eliminated. By using less fuel, the company saves money.

If this thought process is incorporated into non-commercial driving patterns, chances are that there will be fewer instances where cars are crossing each other’s paths, which would reduce the chances of accidents occurring. If it were up to traffic engineers, left turns would be eliminated completely. 

Source: WashingtonPost.com “The case for almost never making left turns,” Matt McFarland, April 9, 2014

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