In the last two weeks the Moscow Police Department has responded to two serious traffic collisions, with one resulting in a fatality. Both of these incidents involved a vehicle making a left turn movement. Studies have shown that unprotected left turns present one of the most hazardous scenarios in routine traffic. The Federal Highway Administration states that a left turn is a complicated situation for any driver, because you're processing multiple sources of information and having to make multiple decisions, such as judging the speed of the oncoming vehicle or vehicles, how quickly you can react, multiple environmental intersection factors, gauging pedestrian traffic, as well as determining who has the right-of-way. A few safety practices to assist with making a safe left turn include the following:
- Never rush a left turning maneuver.
- Scan the intersection for hazards such as other motor vehicles, bicyclist, and pedestrians:
- SCAN BEFORE YOU ENTER AN INTERSECTION
- SCAN BEFORE YOU TURN
- SCAN DURING YOUR TURN
- MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. There are a number of factors, which can take our attention away from the road, and we therefore have to avoid doing things that will divert our concentration away from safe driving.
- A YELLOW signal light is a caution that tells you to prepare to stop - NOT to speed up through the intersection. Safety is the most important point here—please do not take the risk to "beat the red light."
Other very important safety reminders include:
- Traffic around schools increases exponentially when classes begin or let out and that brings the potential for conflict between vehicles and young children. Slow down and anticipate you may have to stop unexpectedly.
- Most importantly, use your seat belt. The impact from a collision at 30 miles per hour, when not restrained by a seat belt, is the same as falling from a three-story building.
As you leave your home, place of business or traveling to and from your daily activities you never imagine that you may hurt or kill anyone because of your unsafe driving decisions. Be patient of others, plan ahead, and responsive to the rules of the road. All community members have an obligation to loved ones, and others, as well as themselves, to do everything within their power to stay focused on safety. Realize the impact of driving habits and please drive responsibly.