Road Trouble: Left-Turn Accidents in AL

Apr 23, 2021 | Allen A. Ritchie

Allen's Answers


If you are making a left-hand turn in Alabama, you are at the bottom of the who gets to move list.

Generally, state law says no traffic can be coming, no pedestrian can be trying to cross the street, and there cannot be any signs restricting the turn. Put that all together and if there is an accident, it is probably your fault.

It might surprise you, but left-hand turns are some of the most dangerous driving maneuvers on state roads. By some estimates, these turns are involved in nearly a fourth of all traffic accidents.

If you only remember one left-turn Alabama law, remember this.

When making a left turn you must yield to oncoming traffic unless you have a green turn arrow.

A circular green arrow does not mean you have the right of way for a left turn.  It’s not a race to shoot the gap and beat the oncoming traffic to make the left turn.  Do that and you are breaking the law — and will probably be held responsible for the accident.

Now there are some instances where the left-turning driver is not responsible. I have argued that the oncoming driver was speeding, distracted (usually by texting), or suffered from drug/alcohol use. But the other side has argued that my clients took responsibility to make the turn, and in doing so, they took the responsibility to make sure it was absolutely, perfectly, 100% safe. Under Alabama law, that is sort of what they did.

A friend recently asked me if all accidents involving a left-hand turn are the turners’ fault. I jokingly responded that if you hit my client, it is.

If you suffer a personal injury like an auto accident or slip and fall, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are mostly working remotely but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We will take your calls live. We are experimenting with new ways to do the show and still follow the CDC guidelines. You might want to see what we have come up with.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer