Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Left turns. I avoided a collision!

My daily commute includes many left turns, they are tricky because the European traffic law basically says that when turning left I should give way to traffic approaching from all directions except from my left, and at intersections of roads of the same category, I must also give way to trams approaching from the left. Luckily I do not usually drive on roads with tram traffic, but I do have quite many challenges.

Winter and dark conditions adds difficulties to the already tricky left turn, e.g. a pile of snow can often be blocking my view from the road, and dark conditions impair visibility as well. Crossing a very busy road when turning left can be a test of patience but often I get considerate drivers yielding to me, which is a very nice thing.

A couple of days ago, a car nearly crashed into my car when turning left, the car was coming from the opposite direction but I was already in the intersection when this happened and although I was driving very slowly it would have been difficult to stop, I should have used the horn though because I could see the driver looking in all directions except in front of her, and it was like a movie in slow motion, thinking what to do, I  just continued turning and the driver from the other car stopped on time and I crossed safely. phew!

I've searched some info about left turns in Google and I've found this article, it is from the USA though, but I am wondering if the following is true in Europe.

When the left turn goes first, the oncoming car has to wait for the left turning vehicle to completely leave the intersection. If the oncoming car goes first, the left turning driver can start as soon as the oncoming car has entered the intersection

It looks like common sense to me, in my near collision incident I started turning first because there wasn't any car in the opposite direction when I started turning, but it came suddenly. See the picture below, taken from Google maps. I added a blue arrow to show where I was going, and the red one is the other car. I do have the feeling however that should a collision have taken place I would have been the one to blame.

My designer friends should ignore my arrow drawing skills I used paint :)

1 comment:

  1. Here in the U.S., I see that happens a lot, even when you just walking. You think that you're in the clear, but all of sudden a car seem to come out of nowhere. Driving is such a big responsibility and you just have to be extra cautious, especially when it come to living in a large city.