Traffic Planning 2.0: No More Blind Spots for Left Turners

I can’t tell you how many countless accidents have happened in my old neighborhood because of blind spots for left turners. When I lived near UCF in Orlando, Florida one small intersection would cause a traffic accident nearly every week. It happens when cars queued in U-turn or left turn lanes face each other in intersections and block each other’s view. Next time you pass one, look near the ground and you’ll usually see broken glass near many of them, even with traffic lights. And these types of accidents could all have been avoided if only someone had made one little change to the intersection’s design. Here’s the right way to design left turning lanes…

First, take a look at this intersection.

Here’s the average left turn / u-turn intersection with left turning lanes facing each other. There are hundreds of thousands of these intersections all over the US.

Notice how cars on both sides are blocking the other driver’s view of what’s coming. This, basically, forces drivers to gamble with their lives while making left turns, maybe you’ll get lucky and there’s no car coming, or maybe as soon as you pull out to make a left turn a car flying 50 miles per hour will kill you. Drivers have learned to just inch out slowly, but that still causes accidents.

So lets re-design this intersection the right way. The way it should have been designed from the beginning by moving the left turning lanes over a bit so that the drivers’s cars aren’t blocking each other’s view.

Now that they’re closer to opposing traffic they can clearly see down the road.

And so there you go. The difference between life and death is who you hire to plan out your intersections.

Fixing this design mistake in current intersections is going to cost millions of tax payer dollars. But it’s not going to cost a thing to implement it in new intersections that haven’t been built yet. So please email this article to your state’s department of transportation.