All too often we see the results of vehicular crashes that occur when one driver attempts a left turn across the oncoming traffic lane without yielding to oncoming vehicles.
The Georgia Driver’s License Manual, at page 40, paragraph 4, includes the following instruction:
When making a left turn at an intersection, alley or driveway, yield the right-of-
way to all traffic from the opposite direction, then proceed when it is safe to do so.
Georgia Code § 40-6-71 states the legal rule:
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
The Georgia Pattern Jury Instructions summarize the rule as follows:
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is within the intersection or so close to it as to constitute an immediate hazard.
This rule is important because we have to have clear rules about who has the right of way on the road, so there is no ambiguity about whose turn it is to proceed at an intersection. It’s important because when a driver chooses to turn across a traffic lane without yielding to vehicles coming from the opposite directions, it can cause injury and sometimes even death to innocent people. Ironically, it is seldom the driver of the car turning left that is hurt badly because he or she is shielded from the impact that happens on the passenger side of his or her car.
And yet we continue to see drivers flinging themselves and their vehicles across oncoming traffic lanes — like possums crossing a country road — without even looking at oncoming vehicles. Too often it is a driver or passenger in an oncoming vehicle who is injured while trying desperately to avoid hitting the vehicle that blithely turns across their lane.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.