Although there are many dangers a driver must confront in Florida when they operate a vehicle, left turns may be among the riskiest. Because drivers in cars that are turning right only need to focus on the right lane of the crossing route, they process far less information than drivers attempting to make a left turn at a busy intersection. In fact, drivers attempting to make a left-hand turn often process nearly four times as much information as other drivers. This means that the odds are often stacked against drivers when it comes to avoiding accidents while turning left.
According to a recent news report, a fatal left turn car accident left three young children and two adults dead. Based on an accident report from the Florida Highway Patrol, a sedan was attempting to make a left turn when it drove into the path of another vehicle. Both cars overturned and five people from the sedan were ejected from their car. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver was wearing a seat belt and sustained only minor injuries, but authorities reported the accident scene has one of the “most horrific scenes” they had experienced in a long time. The crash remains under investigation.
In Florida, similar to other states, there are specific statutes that cover liability when it comes to drivers making left turns that result in car accidents. As a general matter, Florida law states that drivers who intend to make a left turn are expected to approach the intersection from the lane that is farthest to the left as possible. The far lane should be going in the same direction. Once the driver enters the intersection by turning left, they should follow the expected and established lane of travel. When possible, drivers should make their left-hand turns so that they are “to the left of the center of the intersection.”
Unfortunately, left-hand turn accidents are more common than you may expect. Right of way laws in Florida almost always favor the car in the accident that was traveling straight and the vehicle that is turning right. When weather conditions are poor, visibility is low, or roads are not properly marked and maintained, these accidents may be even more common and their risks further amplified. In addition to external factors involving visibility or road conditions, drivers must also take extra care at intersections because of pedestrians or cyclists. At all intersections, drivers should allow these individuals to cross first before proceeding through the crosswalk.
At intersections with a left-hand only turn sign, however, the law differs slightly and offers drivers an exception. Drivers turning left on a green light at these intersections generally have right of way, whereas flashing yellow left-turn lanes or yield left-hand turn lanes usually give deference to drivers who are turning right or driving straight when assigning liability.
Do You Need a Florida Personal Injury Attorney?
If you or someone you know has been recently injured or killed in a Florida car crash or personal injury accident, contact the Grife Law Firm to discuss your claim. Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in all types of claims for decades and understand local laws and how to navigate the legal system. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 855-998-0770.