Left turns a big cause of accidents in NYC

Most common causes of car accidents are well-known. Drunk driving, speeding and distracted driving all cause significant numbers of car accidents that result in injury and death. Public campaigns fight to prevent these behaviors and law enforcement has been cracking down on these dangerous behaviors more than ever.

One big cause of accidents may come as a surprise, however: left turns. A study by the New York Department of Transportation revealed that left-hand turns were three times more likely to cause a fatal accident in the city, while about one-third of fatal accidents with motorcycles involve left turns.

Some states have tried to design road systems to reduce left-hand turns. One study found that roundabouts and other street controls that allowed motorists to make only right-hand turns reduced accidents by 46 percent.

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post called for a ban on left-handed turns, although the author noted that this was a radical suggestion and unlikely to be followed. Still, some people - and companies - are on board. UPS, for example, found that its delivery services could lower emissions and make more on-time deliveries by reducing or even eliminating left-hand turns. One official estimated UPS trucks make right-hand turns in urban environments 90 percent of the time.

A 2013 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience revealed that making a left-hand turn involves a larger amount of brain function than making a right-hand turn. The study also looked at what happened when a person was speaking on a hands-free headset while making a left-turn. As expected, brain activity surged. When a person is distracted making a left-hand turn, "something has to give," lead author Dr. Tom Schweizer told Forbes after publishing the study. That something is attention to the road. Making a left-hand turn while talking "could be the most dangerous thing they ever do on the road" Dr. Schweizer noted.

Left-hand turn tips

When making a left turn, the driver is essentially going against traffic. A few safety tips can help prevent accidents. According to AAA, when making a left-hand turn a driver should:

· Yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic

· Use a signal at least 150 feet ahead of the intersection

· Keep the wheel strait until completely ready to turn left to avoid getting pushed into oncoming traffic

· Pay particular attention to pedestrians and motorcycles

Personal injury

Unfortunately there are many ways a driver can be negligent. When turning left there are many ways to get into an accident. Motorists and pedestrians injured by a driver making a negligent left-hand turn should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss potential legal options and monetary damages.