Left Turn Accidents and Right of Way

September 26, 2012
By Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC on September 26, 2012 1:21 PM |

Friends-

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Elizabeth Colvin Colton who was killed in an accident that occurred last week in Montgomery County as a result of an improper left hand turn. Maryland drivers need to remember to yield the right of way to oncoming cars whenever making a left hand turn.

We are seeing a lot of very serious accidents resulting from improper and illegal left hand turns. It is important to remember that if you are making a left turn you must always yield the right of way to on-coming traffic before making your turn. It is also important to remember to use your turn signal. Way too often a driver will attempt to make a left turn in front of an oncoming vehicle thinking that they have plenty of space. Well, the fact is that not everyone drives the speed limit, and not all drivers are paying attention to what is ahead of them. It may look like the left turning vehicle has plenty of room to make the turn, but if the oncoming vehicle is speeding, and/or if the left turning driver's perception is off at all, a tragic collision can occur.

As a personal injury lawyer, I can tell you that in Maryland the driver of the left turning vehicle in this type of accident will practically always be found to be at fault. Occasionally the vehicle that had the right away may also be found at fault if it can be shown that vehicle was speeding or perhaps on a cell phone and texting and not paying attention, but this would be rare. Police investigating crash scenes will usually ticket the driver of the left turning vehicle. This is true even if the oncoming vehicle is speeding and not paying attention. Bottom line....if you are making a left turn, YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY TO ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

Just this week there was a terrible crash on Great Seneca Highway near the Kentlands and Lakeland's community resulting from an improper left turn. A lady named Elizabeth Colvin Colton was the passenger in a vehicle driven by Seymour Baden. Apparently Mr. Baden attempted to make a left turn from Great Seneca Highway without yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic into the Lakelands neighborhood when he was struck by a vehicle driving on Great Seneca. Mr. Baden's passenger took the brunt of the impact and died as a result of her injuries.