Recently, a number of carrier accidents have been reported involving turning accidents… either a right- or a left-turning truck hitting the vehicle next to it on a roadway. This has also occurred frequently in parking areas at truck stops, where one truck will damage another when turning in front of it.
Drivers need to check their mirrors often and always before and during a turning maneuver. Constant checking of the mirrors will reduce the chance of another vehicle getting into one of the truck’s blind spots. Remember, not all passenger car drivers are aware of the blind spots around commercial vehicles.MANAGE SPACEThankfully, all of these slow-moving accidents only resulted in damage to the vehicles. However, injuries and fatalities often occur in this type of accident on the roadway. In 2013, “failure to yield right of way” and “failure to keep in proper lane” were identified as the driver-related factors in 8.4% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks.
There are many reasons for these types of turning accidents. These include failure to signal a turn, other drivers not noticing the turn signal, failure to yield the right of way, incorrect positioning of the truck to make the turn, and other drivers in such a hurry that they just ignore all of the signals and attempt to pass a truck during a turn. More often than not, the truck driver is found at fault for these types of accidents.
Although a truck driver cannot control every movement of another driver trying to pull into the blind spot of their truck, there are techniques that can be employed to reduce the risk of that happening and being involved in a turning accident.
Drivers need to check their mirrors often and always before and during a turning maneuver. Constant checking of the mirrors will reduce the chance of another vehicle getting into one of the truck’s blind spots. Remember, not all passenger car drivers are aware of the blind spots around commercial vehicles.
A professional driver should manage the space all around his vehicle, and especially on the sides when approaching a turn. Managing the space around your vehicle allows a driver additional time and space for stopping and turning actions to address hazards that may appear.
Communicate your intent to turn. Other drivers cannot know that you intend to turn if you don’t signal them. Signal well before you intend to turn and signal continuously until the turn is completed.
Signal early, turn slowly and keep the rear of your vehicle close to the curb to prevent other drivers from trying to pass you on the right. Don’t allow enough space on your right for a vehicle behind you to enter that space. If encroaching upon other lanes, wait for other vehicles to clear before turning. Most CDL manuals suggest using a button-hook turn rather than a wide-swing-left as part of a jug-handle turn. However, if you must pull into the oncoming lane, stay attentive to oncoming traffic.
Signal early, but watch for drivers that may misinterpret your signal as an intention to turn before or after your intended turning point. Make sure you have reached the center of the intersection before you start the left turn. If you turn too soon, the left side of your vehicle may hit another vehicle, object or pedestrian due to off-tracking. If there are two left-turn lanes, it is preferable to choose the right hand lane, as you may have to swing right to make the turn. Also, you will be able to see drivers on your left more readily than on your right
Always remember…safety first!