Some Central Indiana drivers may find the new design confusing
Drivers in Indiana are used to different kinds of intersection designs – roundabouts, diverging diamond interchanges, and the Michigan Left. But a construction project now underway will add something new that is designed in part to help reduce car accidents – a displaced left turn system.
Here’s how it works: Drivers who will be making a left turn at an approaching intersection will be moved into a traffic-signal controlled lane that crosses the other side of the road, well before they reach the intersection. This keeps more cars that will be turning left in motion, rather than waiting to make a turn when the light turns green.
Construction began last spring at U.S. 31 and Thompson Road on the south side and is scheduled to be completed in October. The existing intersection links a 6-lane highway with a 5-lane major road.
A goal of improving efficiency and safety
“This configuration moves the left-turn conflict out of the intersection and synchronizes it with the signal cycle of the intersecting road,” the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) noted in an environmental study of the project. “In the same way as a regular intersection, all traffic flow is controlled by traffic signals.”
One Greenwood resident told WRTV he was skeptical about the change, expressing concern that drivers would find it too difficult to adjust to the new system.
"I’m all about new ideas and improving traffic flow, but this is confounding," he said.
The Federal Highway Administration said the design can reduce backups and improve safety. One study conducted in Baton Rouge found that a displaced left turn intersection reduced total crashes by 24% and fatal plus injury crashes by 19% within two years.
Statistics from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization found the Indianapolis intersection was the site of 11 serious crashes between 2015 to 2020, with one fatality.
Several more displaced left turn intersections are planned across the state, according to INDOT spokesperson Mallory Duncan.
Intersections can get a heavy amount of traffic each day, with multiple drivers traveling in different directions, often at high speed. T-bone collisions are common when a driver is making a turn, and the injuries sustained are often severe.
A car accident attorney can fight for your rights
Most intersection accidents are caused by negligent drivers who fail to stop at stop signs or during red lights. When a crash happens, it's common for the at-fault driver to deny responsibility and argue they had the right of way. As such, the at-fault driver's insurance company will likely refuse to pay any damages and deny any claims that arise from the accident.
That's why if you were injured in an intersection accident that was not your fault, it's in your best interest to talk to a car accident lawyer who knows what evidence to look for and can prove the other driver is liable for your losses.
Since our founding in 1913, the car accident attorneys at Vaughan & Vaughan have been protecting the rights of the injured in Lafayette, Indianapolis, and throughout all of Indiana. We know how to build strong cases, and we know how to fight for the compensation our clients need and deserve.
Let us review the details of your crash and explain your legal options. Contact us today for a free consultation.