We are all familiar with the scenario in which we want to turn left on a green light but a stream of traffic is heading our way. Rather than waiting for a left turn arrow, it can be tempting to seek to beat the traffic. This can be a recipe for a left turn crash in Georgia.
Left turns can be difficult and dangerous. There are considerably more left turn crashes than right turn crashes on our roads.
When a left turn crash occurs, it’s not always clear which party is to blame. If a car suddenly drives into oncoming traffic and other vehicles don’t have time to slow down, the driver who started making the turn will often be at fault.
Under 40-6-71 of Georgia state code, the driver of a vehicle seeking to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, driveway or private road shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposing direction which is “within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
In other words, the driver who is proceeding straight through the intersection is considered by the law of Georgia be the dominant vehicle and has the right of way. A driver who is making a left turn is required by state law to yield the right of way to the traffic approaching from the opposite direction.
Once a driver has yielded as required, the left-hand turn driver has the right of way to proceed through the intersection as long as opposing traffic is not a hazard. Approaching vehicles must then yield the right of way to the turning car. Assuming there is enough space for the driver making the left-hand turn to turn safely and the driver starts his turn, the driver heading straight must yield to a driver who has already started his or her turn.
As Georgia personal injury lawyers we often see cases in which a light turned yellow, but the driver has continued to make a turn only to come to grief.
Under Georgia law, traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is warned that the green movement is being terminated or that a red light will follow immediately after.
At this point, all traffic at the intersection must stop. It is not illegal to run a yellow light, but it will be unlawful if it is not safe to do so. It will also not help a claim for injuries if you went through a yellow light.
When a court considers a left turn accident, it looks at which driver had the right of way, whether the driver exercised due caution at the intersection and looked before either turning or continuing straight.
Other pertinent factors are the status of the lights, the speeds of the drivers, weather conditions and visibility.
If you have been injured in a left turn crash in Georgia, our skilled automobile injury attorney can help. Please contact us here.