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How can I be safer when making left turns?

Left hand turns are inherently dangerous. You are cutting across lanes of traffic. Experts advise against making a left turn unless it is absolutely necessary, especially in busy areas. They even advocate going out of your way to avoid these turns. Sometimes, you may have no choice but to turn left. In these situations, there are some things you can do to prevent an accident and stay safe.

AARP suggests beginning with following road laws. This means getting into the proper lane, slowing down, honoring any traffic signals, and always using your turn signal. You also need to use some defensive driving strategies. Make sure you know what is happening all around you. Watch for vehicles in the oncoming lanes and those behind you. Always look out for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles, all of which can often appear without warning and be difficult to see.

You should only even make the turn when you feel completely safe to do so. If you notice anything that poses a risk, then avoid the turn or stop until it is safe to make it.

Ideally, you should try to limit left turns. When you do have to make one, try to only do it at intersections that have a left turn light, which stops other traffic and allows you to go through the intersection safely. Avoid any intersections that are known to be dangerous.

It is much safer to go straight or turn right, but sometimes you have to turn left. Just make sure to pay attention and be alert when doing so. This information is for education. It is not legal advice.

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