18 Wheeler Big Rigs and the Dangerous Right Turn

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January 14, 2015
Edward Smith

18 Wheeler Big Rigs and the Dangerous Right Turn


Truck drivers admittedly recognize that making a right turn with their long and heavy loads is not easy.  Every experienced big rig driver will admit that negotiating a right turn can be downright dangerous and likely have many accounts they could tell demonstrating this.

The size of the big rigs requires that the big rig operators understand the special techniques required to negotiate right-hand turns and be even more vigilant for pedestrians and vehicles around them while they negotiate the turn.

Truck Accidents

A common scenario leading to a collision between a big rig and an auto during a right-hand turn is due to the ‘swinging rear.’ As the truck makes its right turn, the rear of the trailer will swing in the opposite direction.  In other words, to the left. This can cause a portion of the rear end of the truck end to up several inches (perhaps even feet) over into the adjoining lane. Should a car be there while the truck is ‘swinging’ over into the lane and comes into contact with another car, the force has at times caused these cars to be then pushed out of their lane and into the next adjoining lane resulting in the middle car getting crushed.  The collisions are especially dangerous when the car that got hit by the rear of the big rig gets pushed in a lane involving traffic going in the opposite direction.

The size and length of many tractor trailers is an issue when negotiating the right turn which can be compounded if the street is not very wide.   Oftentimes, truck drivers find themselves actually crossing the double lines of a two-way street in order to get their big rig set up to complete the right-hand turn.  Therefore, many 18 wheeler tractor trailer collisions involve vehicles that were heading in the opposite direction of the big rig but were struck during the turn.

Pedestrian Injury and Death

Pedestrians can also be crushed during a right-hand turn scenario.  At times, a pedestrian will pass while the big rig while it is negotiating the right-hand turn. Many pedestrians, especially children, have nearly no experience walking near big rigs and may not take into consideration that the big rig will come swinging back.  Other times, a big rig operator will simply end up crossing into the bike or pedestrian lanes taking the bicyclist or pedestrian by surprise. Sadly these accidents usually result in severe injury or death.

We at the Edward A Smith Law Offices respect those in the big rig community and the services they provide our nation.  Many tractor-trailer operators have years of safe driving habits.  Many, however, have not been adequately trained in safety.

Pedestrians and drivers of vehicles can better protect themselves by understanding the mechanics of big rig right-hand turns and do everything in their power to avoid ‘squeezing’ around a big rig.

We at the Edward A Smith Law Offices have handled many tractor-trailer cases and we are experienced with helping families whose loved ones are fighting for their life after a trucking accident.  Unfortunately, the sheer weight, size, and length of 18 wheelers cause much more damage to those that are hit and the victims may end up with life-altering injuries that can be life altering and costly to care for.  Consult with a  qualified Sacramento trucking accident attorney that has experience in litigating trucking lawsuits.

Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer

You can contact our office, Edward A Smith Law Offices, via phone (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400, via our website or write Ed Smith directly at [email protected].

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