As personal injury lawyers, we know how common left turn accidents are and the specific risks that left turns can pose to drivers and pedestrians alike. Collisions involving left turns at intersections can cause severe injuries or even death because drivers must cross lanes of oncoming traffic. However, as crash avoidance technology continues to make strides, the risks associated with these types of maneuvers are starting to change. In this post, we will explore how crash avoidance systems specifically relate to left turns. We will talk about some of the potential benefits of this technology, as well as the drawbacks associated with it.
The Specific Challenges that Contribute to Left Turn Accidents:
Left turn maneuvers pose significant risks, specifically at intersections. However, left-turn accidents can also occur when pulling out of driveways or navigating parking lots. The need to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles accurately, as well as the limited visibility associated with left turns, mean that drivers making left turns face simultaneous challenges. Poor visibility due to obstructions, failure to yield, misjudgment, driver distraction, and impatience can increase the risk of these types of collisions.
- Crash Avoidance Technology Continues to Evolve:
We’ve seen incredible advancements in crash avoidance technology over the years, creating lasting changes in the automotive industry and improving road safety. In fact, crash avoidance systems have been around for decades, and your car almost certainly uses some form of crash avoidance.
The first iteration of crash avoidance systems is something you’ve likely heard of. Antilock braking systems, or ABS, were invented in the 1950s. In the event of a hard brake in an emergency, antilock brakes allow drivers to maintain control by minimizing the possibility of skidding. ABS was an effective innovation that marked the beginning of crash avoidance technology.
Other systems began to take hold in the following decades. In the 1980s, traction control systems, or TCS, emerged as an effective system to reduce the likelihood of slipping. In the following decade, electronic stability control, or ESC, began to be implemented as a way to increase stability in hazardous driving conditions.
Newer forms of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, emerged in the early 2000s as an early iteration of the type of crash avoidance technology we will be focusing on in this post. LIDAR, radar, cameras, and other sensors were tested to survey the driver’s surroundings in order to better avoid collisions. In the mid-2000s, AEB systems, or autonomous emergency braking systems, marked another breakthrough in crash avoidance.
The most recent forms of crash avoidance technology have incredible capabilities. LDW, or lane departure warning, and LDA, or lane departure assist, are very effective at combating lane drifting. BSD, or blind spot detection, addresses another common problem by warning drivers of objects in their blind spots.
Today, artificial intelligence is being implemented to improve the capabilities of crash avoidance technology. Using AI, crash avoidance systems will better be able to survey and predict possible hazards.
- What is Left Turn Crash Avoidance Technology?:
One helpful capability of some crash avoidance systems is the left turn assistance component. Using a combination of sensors, vehicles with left turn assistance can better detect oncoming traffic as well as pedestrians in crosswalks. Because left turns are a particularly tricky maneuver due to visibility issues, left-turn assistance systems can add an extra layer of protection.
By scanning the area surrounding the vehicle, left-turn avoidance systems analyze potential hazards. The sensors can determine the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles and spot pedestrians. This information allows the system to analyze potential risks and alert the driver before a collision occurs.
In the case of an irregular hazard like a collision in an intersection, the crash avoidance system may attempt to warn the driver through visual or auditory queues. If the driver cannot slow down or stop before reaching the hazard, a car with an automatic braking system may be able to stop or divert the vehicle in order to avoid a crash.
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Left Turn Assistance Systems:
There are significant benefits to the left-turn assistance systems being implemented today. Key is the ability to be able to detect hazards in the surrounding environment to protect the driver at an intersection with low visibility. Because misjudgment of speed is a common cause of left turn crashes, the system’s speed detection component is also quite useful.
However, there are some important things to remember when it comes to left-turn assistance technology. These safety systems rely heavily on a variety of sensors and cameras. In heavy rain, snow, or fog, the sensors can be disrupted and become less effective. Other obstructions like dirt can lead to false readings that could cause your vehicle to react without reason or fail to detect obstacles.
Even in perfect conditions, it is possible that your crash avoidance technology may fail. Certain hazards might be harder for the sensors to detect, and there are instances where your surroundings can be misinterpreted. These scenarios might cause delayed or failed reactions. Drivers should assume that they may have to react manually and should always be prepared to intervene in traffic situations.
It is often overlooked that drivers should equip themselves with the proper education and training to effectively interact with crash avoidance systems. Drivers should be aware of the limitations and the capabilities of this technology to make informed decisions on the road. Sensor checks, as well as regular maintenance, should be performed to maintain the effectiveness of the systems.
- The Risk of Complacency and Overreliance:
It is possible that crash avoidance technology can actually create additional risks in the form of driver complacency and overreliance. Overdependency on crash avoidance systems can cause drivers to pay less attention to the road because they assume that the technology will handle any potential risks. This can lead to delayed reaction times that increase the risk of accidents.
Some drivers make the mistake of assuming that other vehicles on the road are equipped with the same type of crash avoidance technology. Commercial vehicles, as well as older vehicles, tend not to have any crash avoidance technology. In situations where drivers interact with other vehicles, too much reliance on these safety features can create a false expectation of safety. Vigilance and attentiveness are even more important given these factors.
Crash avoidance technology has been hailed as a revolutionizing advancement in the automotive industry. The significant safety benefits have led to a reduction in collision risks. However, we must also be aware of the limitations of this technology. Drivers should always be prepared to take control and maintain their vigilance. Remember vigilance and attentiveness are the most important parts of making a safe left turn.