Trucking accidents are often catastrophic for the people in the non-truck vehicle. No matter how good your vehicle’s safety rating may be, it is no match for an 80,000-pound tractor trailer. This is why it is critical for all motorists to exercise proper caution when approaching–and especially passing–a semi-truck.
Why Trucks Swing Wide
One of the most common trucking accident scenarios occurs during a right-hand turn. Unlike the typical passenger car, which can execute a turn without leaving its original lane, tractor-trailer drivers often need to “swing wide” to account for the extended length of their vehicles. In other words, the truck must briefly enter an adjacent lane to the left in order to provide enough room to complete the right turn without running over the curb.
The problem that often occurs, however, is the truck driver creates too much room between his or her vehicle and the curb. This can give passing motorists the false impression that the truck driver is staying on the left side and that there is now room to pass on the right. Or the motorist may think it is safe for them to make a right turn. In either case, the car gets “squeezed” between the semi-truck and the curb, which can inflict serious damage on the smaller vehicle and its passengers.
Who Is at Fault?
In many cases these “right turn squeeze” accidents are the result of the truck driver’s negligence. Some of the more common driver errors that may contribute to a right-turn crash include:
- failure to properly signal the right turn;
- swinging the truck too far out, thus allowing room for other vehicles to “squeeze” in;
- entering the turn while the rear of the tractor-trailer is too far from the curb;
- not checking mirrors and properly monitoring the vehicles behind and next to the truck;
- not leaving sufficient distance before entering into the turn;
- failing to plan a proper route, i.e. traveling on roads and intersections that are not wide enough to accommodate a semi-truck turning;
- entering the turn at an excessive or unsafe speed; and
- driver distraction.
This is not to say that every right-turn accident is automatically the trucker’s fault. In the event of a personal injury claim, the truck driver–and their insurance company–will often try and shift blame to the motorist for recklessly driving into the gap between the tractor-trailer and the side of the road. Obviously, all drivers need to exercise appropriate caution on the road and avoid dangerous situations to the best of their ability.
DC Law Can Help If You’re Injured in a Semi-Truck Accident
If you are involved in a right-turn squeeze collision, it is in your best interest to seek timely legal advice from an experienced Austin truck accident lawyer. At DC Law, our team will fully investigate the circumstances and causes of your accident, and help you seek any compensation you are owed under the law. Call us today at (512) 220-1800 if you need to speak with a lawyer.