Yes, trucks make wide turns. But is that really an excuse for taking someone else’s life when the driver doesn’t take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of other drivers?
Imagine this scenario: you’re waiting in the middle of your lane at a red light and a semi is making a left hand turn. Despite that the truck driver can clearly see there isn’t enough space to make the turn, the driver proceeds forward rushed by trying to make a left at a busy intersection.
While the truck driver is closely watching on-coming traffic, oftentimes he’s not paying attention to how far the end of the trailer will come into your lane. And next thing, you’re in an accident with a truck, even though you were in your lane, not moving and obeying the traffic signal.
This isn’t an unlikely scenario. 61% of all accidents that occur while turning or when crossing intersections are left turns while just 3.1% are right turns. Yet unlike UPS that focuses on eliminating left turns as much as possible, truck drivers make left turns often.
Right hand turns can be just as dangerous although they may occur with less frequency.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a handy graphic and guide on their website to help vehicle drivers understand how to drive around tractor trailer trucks. The graphic shows that semi rigs often have to enter the other lane of traffic to make right hand turns because the trailer requires them to turn further into the intersection for clearance.
A truck driver could easily be focused on his mirrors, watching for clearance for the back of his truck. Rather than being focused on just how far forward he’s pulling into your lane as you’re stopped at a light or driving with the flow of traffic and obeying the law, that truck driver could easily cause an accident if he’s not careful.
The fact alone that trucks must often drive into oncoming traffic to make turns is troubling but what’s more is that truck drivers, trucking companies, and even the FMCSA place blame on vehicle drivers. Anyone reading the information on the FMCSA’s guide can easily see it’s crafted in a way to place blame on drivers of vehicles, rather than the truck drivers.
“Pay particular attention when trucks are turning right so you don’t get caught in the ‘right turn squeeze,’” the guide indicates, insinuating that it’s a vehicle driver’s fault for not getting out of a truck’s way.
If you’ve been in a truck accident, being told it was your fault because you didn’t get out of the truck’s way may have been something you heard. Whether you were waiting at a light or driving with the regular flow of traffic and obeying the law, being told you needed to move for a truck is likely a sign that you weren’t at fault for the accident.
In Arkansas, trucking accidents not only occur at intersections but also on our narrow and winding roads. Logging trucks in particular pose the most threats for vehicles as they often cross the line around turns to maintain speed. On blind corners or hairpin turns not uncommon in Arkansas, being told you should have moved over in your lane for a truck you couldn’t see coming is not the solution.
Instead, holding the truck driver accountable and reminding the trucking industry that they must obey traffic laws is the answer and can help you reestablish your life or family after a trucking accident. We help clients send a message to the trucking industry by actively pursuing cases where truckers expected vehicles to move out of their way and want to talk to you if you were told the accident occurred because your vehicle was in the way or any other major trucking accident.