While representing less than 3% of total claims reported to leading U.S.limo insurer Lancer Insurance Company in 2011, limousines involved in crashes when making left hand turns represented a staggering 21.7% of claims dollars paid.
Quite simply, accidents occurring when left-hand turns are made into oncoming traffic on 2-way roads are either head-on or “T-bone” type crashes, producing multiple serious injuries to the occupants of all involved vehicles.
To avoid these often horrific crashes, limousine drivers should realize that their vehicles are often larger and take more time to clear oncoming traffic than a normal sized private passenger automobile. Be patient and wait for all oncoming traffic to pass before making the turn. It is also often difficult to gauge an oncoming vehicle’s speed, and it becomes even more difficult at night. Do not begin your turn until you are sure you have enough time to complete it safely.
Intersection Crashes (Only 5.8% of total claims; 12.8% of total claims paid)
Not unlike left-hand turn crashes, intersection accidents are costly because they usually involve several moving vehicles and multiple passenger injuries. While most intersections are controlled by signage or traffic signals, the disturbing increase of drivers “running” red lights and stop signs, not to mention illegal cell phone and texting distractions, make it imperative to drive defensively and expect the unexpected.
Beware of ‘stale green lights’ which are due to cycle to red as you approach and cover your brake anticipating same. And never assume that the driver of an approaching vehicle is prepared to obey signage or traffic signals directing him or her to stop.
Pedestrian/Bicyclist Hits (only .018% of total claims; 3.7% of total claims paid)
There are few, if any, limo accidents worse than ones that involve pedestrians or bicyclists. Sadly, they occur more frequently than you would expect and often have tragic results. The majority of these incidents occur when the pedestrian moves suddenly and unpredictably into the path of the limo. Pedestrians jay-walk, walk behind moving vehicles, cross from between parked cars, exit parked cars without looking and sometimes are so distracted by their smart phone that they do dumb things…like walk in front of a moving limo. Chauffeurs need to give driving their full attention and slow down, scan left and right and be prepared to stop.