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Can banning left turns reduce car accidents?

by | Jul 15, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Making a left turn at a busy intersection takes a great deal of focus, skill and judgment. Too often, drivers lacking awareness of an approaching vehicle or pedestrian crossing the street turn when it is unsafe and cause terrible injuries in auto accidents.

One way to reduce left-turn car accidents would be to reduce the number of places where drivers are allowed to turn left. Not only would banning left turns in some intersections in Springfield or Dayton lower the number of opportunities for left-turn crashes, but it might also improve traffic flow, according to research from Penn State University.

On busy roads without left-turn lanes, all it takes is one or two vehicles waiting to turn left to clog the left-hand lane. Limiting left turns to a certain number of intersections on that same street should improve traffic flow, according to a civil engineering professor at Penn State. The professor believes the reduced backups would offset the inconvenience of drivers having to travel a few blocks out of their way to make a left.

How fewer left turns might improve safety

It would also reduce car accidents, particularly collisions with pedestrians, the professor said. Many pedestrian accidents happen because someone turning left did not look out for someone crossing the street or else rushed into the crosswalk trying to “beat” the pedestrian to the spot. As a result, the driver misjudges whether it was safe to start turning and hits the pedestrian.

Creative ideas like this one are needed to improve traffic safety in Ohio. Meanwhile, people who suffered serious injuries at the hands of a negligent motorist can go to court to pursue rightful compensation.


Nathan J. Stuckey