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Left Turn Car Accidents

In Washington State, some of the most common accidents occur when someone attempts to turn left suddenly and strikes someone in a crosswalk, or merges or veers into someone else’s lane, causing an accident. These can be very serious (and unavoidable) kinds of accidents.

Washington State Law on Left Turn Accidents

Washington State has very specific and strict laws on how someone is supposed to turn left, and when, which need to be followed specifically in order to stay in compliance with Washington State law. For instance, when you are on a roadway with more than one lane of travel that is headed in the same direction, you have to keep right unless you are passing. Drivers who are driving too slow in the far left lane can cause road rage, leading to car accidents, or worse.

In fact, RCW 46.60.100(4) makes it illegal to be in the left-hand lane when it impedes traffic.

The more space you have between your car and other cars, trucks, and SUVs on the road, the better off you are and the less likely you are to be involved in a car accident. Washington State has very specific laws regarding left hand turns that are spelled out in RCW 46.61.100. In fact, RCW 46.60.100(4) makes it illegal to be in the left-hand lane when it impedes traffic.

This RCW states that drivers should keep right except when passing and upon:

(1) Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:

(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;

(b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;

(c) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes and providing for two-way movement traffic under the rules applicable thereon;

(d) Upon a street or highway restricted to one-way traffic; or

(e) Upon a highway having three lanes or less, when approaching the following vehicles in the manner described under RCW 46.61.212(1)(d)(ii):

(i) A stationary authorized emergency vehicle; (ii) a tow truck or other vehicle providing roadside assistance while operating warning lights with three hundred sixty degree visibility; (iii) a police vehicle; or (iv) a stationary or slow moving highway construction vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle, solid waste vehicle, or utility service vehicle that meets the lighting requirements identified in RCW 46.61.212(1).

RCW 46.61.185 also defines how a vehicle turning left should be operated:

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

These Washington State laws are meant to protect drivers on the road and need to be followed. The most common reasons for left-hand turn accidents are:

  • Failure to yield
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving too aggressively
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Driving without paying close attention

Driving through an intersection while making a left-hand turn, against traffic, can result in serious crashes, often where someone is broadsided or T-boned. Because of this, left-hand turn accidents are among the most serious accidents on the road.

Common Left Turn Car Accident Injuries

When cars are involved in left hand turn crashes, the damages to a person can be very serious and result in a wide range of injuries. The most common are:

  • Whiplash
  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging disc
  • Paralysis
  • Death

If you have been injured because a car took a left into your lane and struck you, then you most likely have serious injuries that need to be addressed by a medical professional. Seeking immediate care from a doctor or chiropractor is necessary.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

If you have been involved in a car accident because of a left hand turn, there are many ways the Jackman Law Firm can help. Among them are, helping you recover:

  • Lost wages
  • Payment of medical bills
  • Money for pain and suffering
  • Out of pocket expenses

In short, an attorney with The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover what you have lost because of another driver’s negligence. We can also work with the insurance companies to make sure that you receive compensation. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

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