Truck making a left

Truck AccidentsWide Turn Truck Accidents

U-Turns and Wide Turns by Trucks are Dangerous

Truck Companies often Prohibit Drivers from Making U-Turns

U-Turn And Wide Turn Truck Accidents Can Be PreventedTruck Drivers know these actions are dangerous

U-turns, crossing highways and wide right turns are some of the most dangerous driving maneuvers that a commercial truck driver faces. The training received for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) on these maneuvers is far more involved than the training used to secure a regular driver’s license. Many commercial vehicles are long and slow. These large and slow vehicles take a much longer time to clear an intersection or cross a road than a small agile passenger car. Some types of trucks and trailers are difficult to see from the side by approaching motorists. This is particularly true at night.

Pre-trip vehicle inspections are exceedingly important to make sure that all lights and reflective tape are clean and working. These turning maneuvers are particularly dangerous at night when motorists may not readily appreciate that a flat bed trailer being pulled across a roadway is blocking their path. Motorists routinely see red and white stripped tape on the backs and sides of trucks. When properly positioned and maintained reflective tape is an important safety feature. Unfortunately, many truck drivers do not regularly inspect and clean the reflective tape. The effectiveness of dirty reflective tape is significantly decreased. Reflective tape is only reflective when clean and in accordance with the laws of physics. Headlights from a car will hit the reflective strips on the back of commercial trucks that the car is following. If that same truck decides to make a wide right turn the reflective tape will not always be perpendicular to following traffic. A flat bed trailer making a U-turn or in the process of making a wide right turn at night may be nearly invisible to approaching traffic because the reflective tape is reflecting the light from approaching headlights toward the side of the road as opposed to reflecting the light towards the approaching drivers.

Some Turns Can’t Be Safely Made With A TruckTruck drivers must select a safe route

Some legal turns may be unsafe for commercial vehicles. A commercial truck driver has a responsibility to identify safe routes that minimize the chances of wide turn truck accidents. For example, many small stores are located on busy roadways with intersections close to the only available exits and entrances. Commercial truck drivers make deliveries to these stores in long slow-moving trucks. If the most direct route for the truck driver to take is a left turn from the store is the truck driver permitted to take that left turn?

The answer depends on whether the truck driver is making a turn with the benefit of a traffic light or whether the intersection is uncontrolled. If the driver determines that he can safely make and complete a left turn without interfering with cross traffic he may do so. In a congested area where cars may be approaching from multiple different directions near the store’s exits the driver should identify a safe alternative route. If the left turn is to be performed at night the driver should make certain that his reflective tape is clean and any lights on the side of the truck and trailer are operational.

Fact: Applicable federal law considers an accident to be preventable “If a driver, who exercises normal judgment and foresight could have foreseen the possibility of the accident that in fact occurred and avoided it by taking steps within his/her control which would not have risked another kind of mishap, the accident was preventable.” Appendix B to Part 385.

Nighttime Driving Is DangerousTurning trucks can be difficult to see at night

It is not uncommon for motorists to not see a large truck at night. Fortunately, an experienced truck accident lawyer understands and can explain why a driver failed to see a large truck. It is one thing to miss a motorcycle, but an 80,000-pound truck is a much harder sell. There are certain circumstances where these enormous vehicles are difficult for approaching motorists to see. The following are some examples involving wide turn truck accidents:

  • A parked truck that failed to place the required warning devices behind the truck and failed to keep the truck’s lights on. The geography of the roadway and condition of any reflective tape could render the truck nearly impossible to see at night.
  • A tractor trailer crossing multiple travel lanes at night. If the trailer was at an angle while crossing the road the reflective strips on the side of the trailer would reflect the light to the side of the road. Also a tall trailer may appear invisible to a driver in a small car that sees the taillights of cars ahead while looking under the trailer. At night this can create an illusion that the nearest traffic in the driver’s lane was well past the crossing truck.
  • A wide right turning tractor trailer with dirty reflective tape on the side of the trailer. An approaching driver may not notice the cab of the truck because it has already left the road. The trailer may still block the road way at an angle. Even though the reflective tape is close to perpendicular to the approaching driver the tapes may not reflect because it is covered in dirt and is old. The red lights on the end of the trailer are outside to the approaching car’s travel lane and are not perceived as being part of a larger vehicle.
  • A rollback tow truck stopped on the inner loop of the beltway and is almost entirely stopped within a narrow shoulder. The tow truck’s lights are on and it is night time. The rear corner lights are about 6-12 inches from the outer edge of the steel flatbed. A car driving in the left lane is unable to change lanes due to heavy traffic and the front corner of his car is clipped by the unlit edge of the steel flat bed.

These examples are common types of wide turn accidents. The federal government requires training for commercial truck drivers to avoid wide turn truck accidents. These standards may be found in CDL manuals, the federal motor carrier safety regulations, company handbooks, industry manuals and other materials. Certain companies that operate commercial vehicles are required to have safety directors. These individuals are supposed to know all these rules and that their drivers comply with these rules.

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Client Injured By A Commercial Motor Vehicle

Truck drivers risk losing their jobs if they admit to a driving error. The failure to take responsibility leads to injury claims being denied.

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Truck Accident Lawyer

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