How do offset issues cause left-hand turn accidents?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Car Accidents

Left-hand turns are one of the most dangerous traffic maneuvers. Accidents when someone is turning left occur often at intersections even if there are turn lanes and signals. 

One of the reasons left-hand turn accidents may occur so often here is due to the alignment of lanes, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments. Left turns are the safest when you have a clear view of oncoming traffic, and lane alignment greatly affects this. 

Lane alignment

Most roads that have left-hand turn lanes will have these lanes directly across from each other so that vehicles turning left heading both ways are opposite each other. The issue with this is that when there is another vehicle coming from the opposite way and turning left, it blocks your view when you try to turn left at the same time. Your vehicles are in line so that you cannot see around each other to what traffic is coming down in the lane continuing straight. 

Offset lanes

A possible solution that would help free up sight lines is to move lanes and make them offset instead of aligned. If this happens, when you sit in the left-hand turn lane, the left-hand turn lane for oncoming traffic will be slightly to the side of your line of sight. You should be able to clearly see the oncoming traffic so that you can safely make your left turn. 

The issue

Of course, creating offset lanes is not an easy task because it requires a complete overhaul of roadway lines. In some cases, it would require widening roadways, which in certain situations would not be possible due to space limitations.