13 Jun 2019

Left Turn Accidents Account for 60% of All Intersection Collisions

Posted By Darrigo & Diaz

Driver error accounts for 95% of motor vehicle accidents.1 To some degree, a driver’s decision or behavior is almost always to blame in the event of a crash. Whether texting, tailgating, or speeding, driver errors are risky, unsafe, and can even be fatal. Yet, one of the most dangerous decisions a driver has to make on today’s roadways is when to make a left-hand turn.

Left turns are the precursor event for more than 22% of all accidents.2 This means that of all collisions in the United States, nearly one-fourth of them are caused by a driver making a left-hand turn. The same study, conducted by the US Department of Transportation, found that number to be significantly higher when it came to intersection accidents. An estimated 61% of all intersection accidents are caused by drivers making left-hand turns, commonly referred to as left turn accidents.

Why is making a left-hand turn so dangerous?

There are a variety of factors that make left-hand turns dangerous. They require multiple driver judgments, which can be altered by visibility, weather, driving experience and age, and the surroundings.

Risk factors involved in left turns

For drivers making left hand turns, the following factors must be considered:

  • Distance of the oncoming traffic
  • Speed of the oncoming traffic
  • Timing of the red light (if there is one)
  • Possibility of pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • Size of the intersection

The number of elements that go into making left-hand turns is why they are so risky. Drivers have more opportunities to miscalculate a situation.

Left turn accidents that occurred in Tampa

A local report found the intersection of Gulf to Bay and Belcher to be particularly dangerous for left turn accidents. In the last year alone, dozens of left turn accidents have occurred at the intersection, including one from October where a driver making a left-hand turn hit a motorcyclist.3

More recently, on June 2, 2019, a Clearwater woman, who was later charged with a DUI, made a left-hand turn and killed a 65-year-old man, after colliding with him and knocking him from his motorcycle.

Left turns are a consistent problem across Tampa. Last summer, after witnessing hundreds of accidents, the Florida Department of Transportation closed and restricted the north bound turn lane that drivers used to make from US 19 to County Road 39, which leads to Belcher Road. Now, officials also plan to make it illegal to make a left-hand turn at the intersection of Gulf to Bay and Belcher.

Avoid being a victim of left turn accidents

To better protect yourself from left turn accidents, remember these tips the next time you approach a busy intersection:

  • Be alert. It’s important to be focused and aware of your surroundings when approaching a busy intersection. Know that the person making a left turn may attempt to turn in front of you.
  • Don’t run the red light. And be cautious if it turns yellow. If a driver is waiting to make a left turn, and the intersection is busy, he or she may decide to speed through the red light on their end. The same goes for yellow. If the light turns yellow and you feel the need to tap on your gas, understand the driver waiting to turn left may also step on the gas.
  • Don’t speed. Driver’s making left turns must judge how fast you are approaching. Therefore, don’t speed when approaching an intersection, as this could cause them to miscalculate the space between your vehicles.

RELATED CONTENT: VIDEO: Teen injured in left turn accident in Sarasota

Trust Tampa’s Left Turn Law Firm

As one of the oldest law firms in Tampa, Darrigo & Diaz has represented thousands of personal injury accident victims and their families. While we handle all accident types, we excel at litigating settling left turn accident cases. We have seen countless accidents caused by drivers making left hand turns, and we understand how serious and complicated these cases can be.

We fight for the rights and victims of left turn accidents. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Expert Nadine Diaz, our firm is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®. We handle every component of your case, from obtaining police reports to handling insurance adjusters, and we provide competent, resourceful, and aggressive legal representation.

If you are the victim of a left turn accident, contact our Tampa car accident lawyers today to learn about your options and how we can help. Call us at (813) 774-3341 to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced, highly-praised team. 


  1. “What causes car accidents?” Smart Motorist. https://www.smartmotorist.com/what-causes-car-accidents
  2. “Highway Safety Improvement Program Manual” US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/resources/fhwasa09029/sec3.cfm
  3. Burton, JJ. “Left turns at Gulf to Bay and Belcher intersection may get eliminated, officials say.” ABC Action News. WFTS Tampa Bay. https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/driving-tampa-bay-forward/left-turns-at-gulf-to-bay-and-belcher-intersection-may-get-eliminated-officials-say
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