Turning Left Into a Driveway or Private Road Seems So Simple

Ask yourself, when driving down the highway, such as a state route, when reaching the point where one is to turn left into your friend’s farm or client’s orchard, do you have any obligation other than making sure there is not any oncoming traffic in the opposite direction? As an attorney practicing injury law, I thought the answer was simple, yes there are other obligations. But in interviewing people I found so many of them thought if they knew there was no oncoming traffic they were free to make a left-hand turn without taking any other steps.

The next question was whether a motorist coming upon a slow-moving vehicle was allowed to pass the vehicle if there was no indication the vehicle was turning left, the highway was marked as a passing area, and there was no oncoming traffic. Without fail, everyone believed motorist had the right to pass the slow-moving vehicle. Obviously, a passing motorist or overtaking motorist can be put in great danger by a suddenly left turning vehicle. So what do the Rules of the Road, our safety rules, say about the situation. Quite simply, to make a left-hand turn, the driver must look in his side view and rearview mirrors to make sure there is not an overtaking motorist passing behind them. If a driver suddenly makes that left-hand turn directly in front of a passing motorist, it puts that driver, the passing or overtaking motorist, and others in great danger of a violent collision.

Another safety rule, turn on the blinker before making a left-hand turn, not as one is beginning to make left the left-hand turn. How often have do you seen motorists that make a lane change or a left-hand turn, and literally as they are engaged in making that left, the blinker comes on. The blinker is supposed to be used well in advance of the lane change or left-hand turn. Too often people are unnecessarily injured with their lives dramatically changed by someone simply not doing that which is taught in the most basic of drivers education courses.

Please drive safely to avoid harming innocent members of our community.