Are Left-Hand Turns Really That Dangerous?

You may have been told in driving school that whenever possible to avoid left-hand turns. Based on accident studies over the years, it’s even suggested by some car safety experts to plan your driving routes to minimize or even eliminate left-hand turns. What makes left-hand turns so dangerous?

One primary reason that left-hand turns are riskier is that you’re crossing more lanes of traffic, Peter Kim of Philadelphia Insurance Companies says. “There are more variables at play, which means more decisions to make for the driver,” Kim explains. More decisions mean more chances of an accident.

It turns out that a left-hand turn can be as much as ten times more likely to lead to a collision as a right-hand turn. This is backed up by a 2001 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study which was based on data from about 1.7 million crashes. The study also found that the impact from left-hand turn collisions tends to be more severe.

What makes a left-hand turn collision more dangerous? Many right-turn collisions happen to be more of the sideswipe or glancing blow variety. But in left-hand collisions, the impact is more likely to come in at a right angle or even head-on. This means not only more damage to vehicles, but more serious risk of personal injuries, as well.

But aren’t there times that a left-hand turn can’t be avoided? There are going to be times where you may not have a choice. Also, some left-hand turns are safer than others, such as those with a dedicated left-hand turn traffic signal. But even then, there are times where they can be avoided if you plan out your route well.

It is possible to keep left-hand turns to an absolute minimum. In fact, UPS had done just that. Not only have they reduced accidents, but there’s an added benefit, as well. Kim says,

“UPS, for example, cut left turns out of drivers’ routes, which allowed them to not only reduce crashes, but also improve efficiency by spending less time idling at intersections. That also meant they could save money on fuel and reduce their carbon footprint.”

It’s true that left-hand turns can actually cost you time and fuel. So you can save yourself some time and energy, as well as help greatly reduced the chance of crashes. From the findings that have been made, if every driver made an effort to reduce left-hand turns, car crashes would be reduced by a hefty percentage.

If car crashes are reduced, then car insurance premiums will drop. But the obvious benefit is avoiding the pain and suffering of major car crashes. Many lives could be saved. All you have to do is find some new ways to go on your way to the store, to work, or back home.

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Did you know that your credit score can actually affect your auto insurance premiums? While prohibited in some states, more than 9 out of 10 auto insurers use your credit score in order to predict your likelihood of filing a claim. Because of this, a good credit score can actually positively affect what is called an “insurance score.”  According to a ValuePenguin study done in March of 2016, a driver with poor credit could pay almost double in auto insurance premiums than that a driver with an excellent credit.

 

So what goes into an insurance score?

 

The insurance score is also affected by things you would expect such as driving record and the type of car you drive. But apparently, insurers have found high correlations between credit score and risk of filing a claim. Obviously, the lower the risk, the less in premiums that are charged to that consumer. While not every auto insurer considers credit score as much as others, it is definitely a factor.

 

Insurance scores consider credit history in a similar way to credit scores. Payment history can contribute up to 40 percent of that score. The combination of credit sources you have only makes up about 5 percent. Other factors that go into calculating insurance scores include:

 

  • outstanding debt
  • payment patterns
  • length of credit history
  • available credit
  • late payments
  • new applications for credit
  • type of credit used
  • past-due amounts
  • public records

 

Could recent changes to credit reports actually help your insurance score, and save you on auto insurance premiums?

 

The good news is that if you don’t have the best credit score, there have been some changes that could improve your insurance score. In July of 2017, the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, removed certain public records that didn’t meet new verification standards. The majority of the data removed involved tax liens and civil judgments.

 

While many credit and insurance scores were barely affected, it’s been found that consumers with lower insurance scores may see big changes. Consumers who had tax liens and civil judgments removed from their credit reports could see hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year in savings on auto insurance premiums.

 

Of course, there are not many consumers that fall into that category. Still, it is important to understand that there is an important connection between insurance scores and your credit report. You can actually ask your insurer to reevaluate your premiums if you know that your credit score has recently improved. It’s one more way to save on auto insurance.

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