Right Turns

Being a good defensive driver entails always looking for potential hazards. We usually always see the 18 wheelers, the dump trucks, and passenger cars, trucks, and SUV’s on the roadway because if we collide with one of these type vehicles the likelihood of injury and substantial damage is dramatically increased. The bigger it is, the more likely we will see it when we’re looking for hazards.

That is why drivers making right turns instinctively always look left to see if traffic is clear. The problem lies in that oftentimes we do not look right before making the turn. The reason for this is simple. We assume that there will be no hazards moving against the flow of traffic. The reality is that there are hazards to our right and we should be aware of them. These hazards tend to be pedestrians and bicyclists who are riding the wrong way.  Vehicle versus bicyclist/pedestrian injury accidents commonly occur during right-hand turns by motorists.

So remember the old schoolyard teaching you may have heard when you were a child and were receiving instructions on how to cross a street…."Look left, then right, and then left again."  By doing so you can avoid these types of right-turn accidents.

Here is some more information on "Right Turn Look Right" from www.roadtripamerica.com:

In the United States, a driver's natural tendency when making a right turn is to look left, since left is the direction the traffic is coming from (we hope). For this reason, right-turning motorists are one of the biggest dangers to bicyclists! Many bicyclists ride on the wrong side of the street–if you are riding a bike, you are supposed to ride WITH the flow of traffic. But for convenience or whatever other reason, you ride down the street on the wrong side (on the sidewalk) facing the opposing traffic.

So…Joe Driver is leaving his neighborhood supermarket, and he stops short of the sidewalk for a split second, looks to his left to make sure he's not about to be hit, then begins to pull out to make a right turn onto the street. Maybe he's in a bit of a hurry because other traffic is quickly approaching. As he crosses onto the sidewalk, Joe Bicyclist runs smack into the side of his vehicle, from his right, and the forces of impact may toss him out into the street where another oncoming car runs over him. He's D.O.A. This is one of the leading causes of death for bicyclists.

While a bicyclist is quicker, and he's not supposed to be riding the wrong way, you can have the same unfortunate encounter with a law-abiding pedestrian. If you are a bicyclist, or a pedestrian, your life may very well depend on following the "rules," and never assuming that a motorist will see or yield to you. If you are running, you tend to get "tunnel vision." You need to be aware of danger areas. Don't run down sidewalks, or across streets—walk, but don't lollygag, and keep an eye on everything around you.

 

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