Taking a left-hand turn in NYC is a quick way to cause an accident

NYC asks Google Maps to direct drivers to make only right-hand turns.

Numerous studies have shown that one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents comes from vehicles taking left-hand turns at crowded intersections. This is true everywhere, but in New York City, with bike messengers, walkers, and cab drivers all on a strict time schedule, rushing into a left-hand turn can create incredible risk on the city's roads.

According to a recent study by NPR, about one-quarter of all accidents are caused by left-hand turns. In 2014, drivers making left-hand turns killed 20 pedestrians, which is the largest number of pedestrians killed by left-hand turns of any state in the country. The largest motor carrier in the nation, UPS, requires its drivers take only right-hand turns in New York City, both to cut down on accidents and to save on gas.

Now, city officials have asked Google Maps, a leading GPS navigation system, to steer its users into making only right-hand turns.

This July, the New York City Department of Transportation sent a letter to Google requesting that it tweak its Google Maps program. In addition, the department is also redesigning some dangerous intersections in the city, increasing the duration of walk signals to allow for slower pedestrians to safely cross the road and putting in left-hand turn signals in some intersections deemed at-risk.

For now, it is unclear if Google Maps will comply, although certainly it is not beyond the technical capabilities of Google to adjust its Google Maps apps. If it does make the change, it is unclear when it would go into effect. For now, Google Maps will continue to suggest left-hand turns. It will also take some time for the NYC DOT to improve the safety at dangerous intersections.

Why left-hand turns are dangerous

Left-hand turns are dangerous because it requires the driver to make a serious of decisions in a short amount of time, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It requires the driver to obey traffic lights, look for oncoming traffic, and watch out for pedestrians in the periphery of their vision. In addition, drivers making left-hand turns often speed through traffic lights, are distracted, and gauge the oncoming traffic speed incorrectly. When using GPS navigation, it is also easy to watch the screen or listen to the audio directions, rather than pay attention to the road and nearby pedestrians.

All of these factors make left-hand turns more dangerous than right-hand turns. If a driver does not obey traffic laws or drives distractedly, negligently, or is under the influence, a left-hand turn can cause serious injury.

Were you in an accident involving a left-hand turn?

If you were in an accident involving a driver making a left-hand turn, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit can help you pay for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses that resulted from a driver negligently making a left-hand turn.

At Subin Associates, LLP, our attorneys understand car accidents in New York City and have helped numerous motorists and pedestrians obtain help in the wake of a devastating accident. Contact our office to discuss your situation and potential legal options.

Keywords: New York City accidents, left-hand turns, speeding, distracted driving.