Police warn about illegal left turns

Making an improper left turn is the most common driver error contributing to accidents in Alberta intersections, the provincial government reports.

Whether due to ignoring traffic signs and signals, failing to yield for pedestrians or following too closely, the illegal left turn is a collision culprit.

Provincial statistics show 315 people were killed and another 39,791 injured in collisions at Alberta intersections between 2010 and 2014. Canada-wide, 28 percent of fatalities and 40 percent of serious injuries occur at intersections.

“Never assume the other drivers are always going to do the right thing at an intersection,” said RCMP traffic services inspector Steve Daley in a Jan. 5 provincial news release.

“You should always check for vehicles approaching the intersection to make sure they are going to stop completely or yield the right of way. Safe driving means that we are constantly watching the road and other drivers to avoid dangerous collisions.”

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There are fines for messing up at intersections:

• $388 and three demerits for failing to stop at a stop sign

• $575 and four demerits for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk

What’s the right way to execute a left turn? The province describes it thus: signal first to provide reasonable warning to other drivers of intention. Then, check traffic and conditions on both left and right and left again before making the turn. Treat red lights the same as a stop sign, even if turning right at an intersection. Stop and check for pedestrians or other traffic and only proceed once it’s safe.

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  • Harold

    I wonder why the police and others never quote directly from the Highway Safety Act. Instead we are given warnings and accident statistics and readings from a manual or an opinion. Incredibly, Albertan’s do not need to know the content’s of the Highway Traffic Act to gain a driver’s license. Is there a problem with that? You cannot obey something which you haven’t heard. The Highway Safety Act defines everyone’s responsibility in the fullest possible detail. It is used in the Provincial Court to define driver responsibility. These details are not widely known, so now we learn in Court by accident and injury. Intersection’s still remain a problem.
    For one example from the ACT; when facing a red light and it has now turned green- you do not have the right of way until all of those legally in the intersection have cleared the intersection – even though the light is green. This means that those legally in the intersection making a left hand turn -may freely continue to do so- and those upon the intersecting roadway – now facing a green- do not have the right of way until you have completed the left turn. No one has the right to make a left hand turn unless it is safe to do so.(oncoming traffic ignoring the light) Combined, this eliminates the panic of left hand turns and poor decisions during light changes, and promotes intersection safety. (pedestrian’s in the intersection are included in the above) This is not my opinion – it is in the Highway Traffic Safety Act for all to see. Further, without knowledge, it leads one to admit fault when legally they are not at fault, further also placing one in a position of fault – unknowingly, and witnesses report less important facts. We hire Lawyers. The Act should be mandatory knowledge and reading. Perhaps the stupidity of ‘Road Rage” would diminish as well.