Left Hand Turns: Use Caution | Nordgren Law: Automotive Litigation and Lemon Law

It’s a scenario most of us experience: You’re at a light preparing to turn left across multiple lanes of traffic. Oncoming vehicles are traveling at various speeds and you’re anxious to make your turn before the light turns red. As you inch towards the intersection you think, “I could probably make it.” Perhaps you rush to make the turn or perhaps you wait until the coast is clear. I would recommend the latter.

A left hand turn is considered to be one of the most dangerous maneuvers a driver can make – and Louisiana law treats it as such. In fact, if you’re involved in a car accident while making a left hand turn, you are legally presumed to be at fault. This is because you bear the burden to be sure the turn can be made safely before taking it.

However, there are certain circumstances where liability is shifted to the oncoming driver. For example, if they were excessively speeding this could shift some responsibility for the accident. They would also bear responsibility if they impacted the turning driver after running a red light or if the left-turning driver began the turn long before the oncoming motorist entered the intersection.

Determining the circumstances surrounding this type of accident can be timely and costly. The best solution is to avoid the accident all together. Be patient, be cautious, and don’t turn left unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe.