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Left turns are especially dangerous for pedestrians

Pedestrians can be involved in accidents almost anywhere that they're exposed to traffic, but researchers warn that the crosswalk -- designed to keep people safe -- actually poses fairly significant dangers. This is especially true when drivers are turning left.

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Researchers at Oregon State University studied drivers in a simulation, watching their eyes. About one out of every 10 did not look at the crosswalk when turning left, simply making the turn when traffic cleared.

The problem is that when drivers don't have green arrows, they watch that oncoming traffic intently. It's their main point of focus. As soon as they get a break and know they won't be hit, they're quick to turn. They often forget there are more issues than just other traffic to consider.

At the same time, pedestrians in the crosswalk feel like they have the right of way. They assume that the turning cars are going to wait for them. While the pedestrians may be in the right, they are still exposed to a lot of danger when drivers make mistakes and forget to check.

Dangers can be lessened at intersections with green arrows for turning drivers. If they have that arrow, then pedestrians have the "Do Not Walk" sign as warning that traffic is heading toward them.

Have you been hit by a driver who turned and didn't see you until the last second? Maybe you were just out for a jog, and now you're stuck in the hospital with serious injuries. If so, be sure you fully understand all of your legal rights.

Source: Mens Health, "The Most Dangerous Place to Run," Madeline Haller, accessed June 15, 2017

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