Left-hand turns are very dangerous and when a car or truck accident results, the drivers often sustain serious injuries. In many instances, left-hand turns cause second and sometimes third impacts. Below are three NJ statutes commonly at issue in left-hand turn accident lawsuits.
1. New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 39:4-90. Right of Way at Intersections
The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right of way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection. When 2 vehicles enter an intersection at the same time the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the driver of the vehicle on the right.
The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard, but the driver having so yielded, and having given a signal when and as required by law, may make the left turn; and other vehicles approaching the intersection from the opposite direction shall yield to the driver making the left turn.
Drivers who are turning left must yield to oncoming traffic and traffic already present in the intersection. The burden lies with these drivers to act reasonably and cautiously in navigating the turn. Many NJ roadways are 2, 3 and 4 lane highways with speed limits over 45 mph. Drivers making left-hand turns may be liable for causing a car accident.
2. New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 39:4-123. Improper Right and Left Hand Turns
Except as otherwise provided in this article, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:
(a) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(b) Left turns on two-way roadways. At any intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each roadway entering the intersection, an approach for a left turn shall be made in that portion of the right half of the roadway nearest the center line thereof and by passing to the right of such center line where it enters the intersection and after entering the intersection the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the center line of the roadway being entered. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
(c) Left turns on other than two-way roadways. At any intersection where traffic is restricted to one direction on one or more of the roadways, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any such intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle and after entering the intersection the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection, as nearly as practicable, in the left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered.
Drivers who make left turns must do so from the center line. In other words, drivers cannot begin navigating left turns from the far right lanes. This is obviously dangerous as it can lead to accidents with cars traveling in the same direction, in adjacent lanes.
3. New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 39:4-126. Signaling Before Starting, Turning or Stopping
No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in section 39:4-123, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway, or start or back a vehicle unless and until such movement can be made with safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided in the event any other traffic may be affected by such movement.
A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear.
The signal herein required shall be given either by means of the hand and arm in the manner herein specified, or by an approved mechanical or electrical signal device, except that when a vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent the hand and arm signal from being visible, both to front and rear, the signal shall be given by a device of a type which has been approved by the division.
When the signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the driver shall indicate his intention to stop or turn by extending the hand and arm from and beyond the left side of the vehicle in the following manner and such signals shall indicate as follows:
(a) Left turn.--Hand and arm extended horizontally.
(b) Right turn.--Hand and arm extended upward.
(c) Stop or decrease speed.--Hand and arm extended downward.
Drivers turning left must give appropriate signals of the intention to turn at least 100 feet from the turn. Many drivers fail to give signals, or give signals immediately before turning. This fails to apprise other drivers on the road of the impending turn.
NJ roadways are very dangerous. Left-hand turns often result in very serious injuries. If you would like your car accident case evaluated, please call our NJ car accident lawyers. 877.944.8396