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Hazardous Left-hand turns may soon be obsolete

For years, left-hand turns have been the culprit of many auto accidents. Drivers who turn left in front of oncoming traffic often fail to see approaching cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians and cause auto accidents as a result.

In fact, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, over 53 percent of vehicle accidents involve left-hand turns. It's estimated that only 5 percent of vehicle accidents involve right-hand turns.

Since the inception of this convenience, it seems left-hand turns have done nothing but pose a heighted risk of auto accidents. Fortunately, one Washington Post columnist argues that these hazardous turns could someday be a problem of the past.

Lack of convenience

Left-hand turns are supposed to save time, money and gas. However, according to Phil Caruso, the deputy executive director for technical programs at the Institute of Transportation Engineers, there's a host of problems caused by drivers making left-hand turns. Safety, traffic congestion, unnecessary backed-up vehicles waiting for cars in front of them to turn left, and excessive gas consumption, are just a handful of reasons.

UPS, the popular shipping and logistics company, avoids the practice. The company has implemented carrier routes that eliminate or reduce left-hand turns. Their research has determined that drivers do not get anywhere faster or save any more gas by turning left.

And Caruso agrees. "If you can eliminate left turns, especially concurrent left turns, that's a positive," he indicates.

This same conclusion no doubt holds true for passenger vehicles.

Will left-hand turns someday be obsolete?

A Washington Post columnist, however, indicates that these hazardous turns may soon be a thing of the past.

Despite the hazards associated with the turns and the data to show how dangerous they are, people are unlikely to change their ways and will still undoubtedly believe that they are time saving and necessary. But, someday left-hand turns will become obsolete. But how will this happen if people aren't willing to voluntarily change? According to the columnist-self-driving vehicles.

Automobile technology

The automobile has come a long way since the first Ford Model T drove off the assembly line. Today, many vehicles come equipped with technological advancements that truly save lives when there is an auto accident. The NHTSA recently implemented a new rule that will mandate auto manufacturers install vehicle back-up camera technology starting in 2018.

And, in the near future, it's likely vehicles will become so advanced that they will essentially drive themselves. Take away the decision making power from drivers and it will automatically eliminate the human choice to make left-hand turns. It will also likely reduce unnecessary vehicle accidents.

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