MOTORCYCLE DEATHS CONTINUE TO DEVESTATE IN TAMPA BAY
A motorcyclist was killed in a crash in Hillsborough County on Saturday night, the Florida Highway Patrol reported. The tragic news comes on the heels of reports that Hillsborough County reached its highest traffic death count ever in 2021.
The motorcyclist, a 36-year-old man from Ruskin, was driving south on U.S. 301 at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday when the driver of a sport utility vehicle turned left in front of him. The driver of the SUV, a 19-year-old woman from Gibsonton, was turning onto Interstate 75 at the time, troopers said.
The SUV collided with the motorcyclist, who was ejected and killed. The driver of the SUV was not injured, troopers said.
No other information about the crash, including the names of the people involved or whether charges will be filed, was immediately released.
As a general rule, the presumption is that left-hand turn crashes are caused by the driver who turned left. This presumption is even part of Florida Law. Florida statute 316.151, provides that any driver who intends to turn left should approach the intersection in the farthest left-hand lane available.
Why Are Left-Hand Turns So Dangerous?
Left-hand turns can be a highly risky driving maneuver compared to other decisions made on the road. This type of turn requires several judgment calls that must be made quickly, and often in conjunction with other mental tasks. These judgment calls include gauging the speed of oncoming traffic, estimating the amount of time left before a light turns from green or yellow to red, and whether other drivers are driving safely and following traffic laws.
Additional reasons why making left-hand turns can be dangerous include:
Left-hand turns require more mental energy than right turns, so making a left turn when tired, distracted, or intoxicated can be especially hazardous.
Left-hand turns require drivers to cross at least one lane of traffic.
Making a left-hand turn can disturb the flow of traffic.
Drivers making a left-hand turn may have a blocked or limited view of all traffic lanes.
Many drivers accelerate when making left-hand turns, so a collision with pedestrians or other vehicles can be more dangerous than right-hand turns.
Left-hand turns require drivers to use their turn signals, which is something that not everyone does.
Left-hand turning requires drivers to be aware of cars coming from multiple directions.
As you can see, making a left-hand turn requires significant mental and physical effort as well as quick judgment when compared to right-hand turns. All the factors listed above put drivers at risk for collisions when making left-hand turns.
How To Properly Make a Left Turn
It’s important to know how to safely make a left turn to avoid collisions and other hazardous situations.
Here are the steps to keep in mind when making a left-hand turn:
- Turn on your signal approximately 100 feet before you get to the point where you will make the left-hand turn.
- Stop your vehicle behind the limit line (not on or over it).
- When you are at a complete stop, look to the left, then right, then to the left one more time.
- Make the turn when you are completely sure there is no oncoming traffic or other hazards that may result in an accident.
- When turning, do not try to cut the corner of the lane where ongoing traffic is located.
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