Right-Turn Truck Accidents
Because large trucks need a much wider turn radius, they often swing to the left before turning. This maneuver can put nearby drivers at risk if those drivers are not aware of the trucker’s intentions.
What makes right-turns by trucks different than other vehicles?When a passenger vehicle makes a right-hand turn, it should never have to leave its lane to do so. Trucks with long trailers such as semis and flatbeds must account for the length of their vehicle when turning right. Therefore, most trucks have to swing wide and briefly enter the adjacent left lane before making the right turn.
The Hazard of Right-Turning Trucks to Nearby DriversTrucks that do not use their turn signals or fail to check their surroundings before turning can put other nearby vehicles at risk of a collision.
Cars that are driving on the left side of a truck should stay clear of the truck if it slows down when approaching an intersection. The slowdown is often a sign that the truck will be turning right and swinging wide, potentially entering your lane.
Note: It is good practice to stay away from large trucks regardless of where you are. Because trucks have large blind spots, it is unlikely that the driver will be able to see you if you are right next to him.
The Dangers of Squeeze PlayMany drivers believe they can scoot by a truck on the right side when they see it start to swing left. Drivers are unaware that the left swing is only temporary for the purpose of making a right-hand turn, and not the truck changing lanes.
When the truck begins to make its turn, the truck squeezes the passenger car between the cab and the curb, called a squeeze play accident. Squeeze play accidents are often catastrophic.
Squeeze Play Works Both WaysSqueeze play is most common with a car in the right lane attempting to pass a right-turning truck. However, this type of accident can also occur when the car is in the left lane.
When the truck swings wide left, it can enter the path of oncoming traffic in the left lane and cause those vehicles to squeeze against a barrier or into another lane. Sometimes this can push a car into oncoming traffic and cause another collision with other drivers.
Avoiding Right-Turn Truck AccidentsDrivers can reduce their risk of a right-turn truck accident by being mindful of a trucker's blind spots. Do not ride alongside a truck in areas where you cannot see the driver in his mirrors. Common blind spots for right-turns include directly to the left or right of the cab and directly behind the truck.
Give plenty of space between yourself and other vehicles, especially trucks. Doing so gives you more time to anticipate the movement of the other vehicles and time to stop in the event a truck swings into your lane.