Crash Shows Danger of Left Hand Turns Against Oncoming Traffic

A recent crash involving two cars, in Fullerton, California, sent four people to the hospital. The crash, involving a vehicle making a left hand turn with traffic coming from the other direction is called a left hand accident.  As car accident attorneys we see police reports about accidents of this type far too often.

The problem for a driver turning left against oncoming traffic is that the left turning driver has to do a lot of things at one time. The left turning driver has to see and yield to oncoming traffic, which has the right of way, plus make sure the area the driver is left turning into is clear.  In addition, it may be difficult to accurately determine how far away the oncoming traffic is traveling at and at what speed.

In a left turn accident, the driver of the vehicle making the left turn often misjudges the speed of the oncoming vehicle.  When this happens, the oncoming vehicle cannot stop in time and crashes into the right side of the left turning vehicle.

In left hand turn accidents the investigating officer usually finds the left turning driver at fault for the accident.  California law states that left turning drivers must yield to oncoming vehicles with the right of way. This overrides the requirement that the oncoming driver drive at a speed to be able to stop in time.

This case may serve as an example.  As reported in the Orange County Register, one of the cars was headed westbound on Bastanchury Road. When it collided into another car which was turning left into St. Jude Medical Center on Bastanchury Road.

The accident involved a Honda Prelude and a Toyota Corolla. Three men and one woman were taken to local hospitals. Firefighters had to cut a door off the Corolla to extricate the woman, said a spokesman for the Fullerton/Brea Fire Department.

Based on the massive damage to the right side of the Toyota Corolla, it appears that it was the driver of the Toyota Corolla who was making the left hand turn against oncoming traffic. It is usually the right hand side of the left turning vehicle which is damaged in a left turn accident.

If you need to make a left hand turn and there is oncoming traffic, you need to make really sure that you are not cutting off the oncoming traffic. By just waiting a little more time, until all oncoming traffic has passed, you can ensure the safety of you and your passengers and also make sure that you are not found at fault for a serious accident.

There is more information about police reports and other accident information, in my free E book 9 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Accident Case.  You can download for free and read more about the matters discussed above.

At the Law Offices of John P. Burns, we effectively handle your car accident claim so you can focus on recovering without having to deal with the insurance companies. It’s free to ask questions, so contact us directly at 949-496-7000 or email us at We’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.