Commercial trucks are designed and driven very differently from passenger vehicles. Learning how they are different can help you be a more informed and safer driver. For example, a right-hand turn may seem like something simple to a passenger vehicle. Whereas to a commercial semi-truck, it is a skill that must be learned and can cause dangerous accidents if not executed correctly.
Why Do Trucks Make Wide Right Turns, but Not Left?
In the US, we drive on the right side of the road, which means when we turn left, we naturally take a wider turn to cross oncoming traffic. Of course, there are exceptions to turning left from a one-way street onto another one-way street, but left-hand turns are wider turns for the most part. However, right-hand turns are typically tighter turns, merging directly into the lane of traffic.
It’s important to make this distinction to understand why do trucks need to make wide right turns but not left.
How Can a Wide Right Turn Cause Accidents, and Who’s At Fault?
There are many contributors to a wide right turn accident with a semi-truck. This section will review what could happen and who might be at fault.
Proper vehicle maintenance should be a high priority to ensure safety. In the case of larger vehicles, their disrepair can make a significant impact. Commercial vehicle drivers have a maintenance list they must adhere to and they must ensure all components are secure. For example, should a wide right turn accident occur and it is found the turning driver’s vehicle was not properly maintained, they would be found negligent. Something small, like a broken blinker, can cause a devastating accident.
In the case of distracted driving, either party could be found liable for the accident. Drivers with a history of distracted driving are more likely to be found negligent. It’s rare not to notice a semi-truck or to have seen the wide turns they make. A distracted driver failing to account for the truck’s wide right turn due to distraction could be found liable. Equally, truck drivers should be keenly aware of their surroundings before and during the execution of a wide right turn.
If either driver is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be found at fault.
Drowsiness is a common contributor to semi-truck-related accidents, including right-turn incidents. Commercial drivers who have exceeded their driving time, which in Indiana is 14 consecutive hours, will be found at fault.
Operating a semi-truck requires a commercial license. Drivers must complete a commercial license course and exam before getting on the road. Most experienced drivers recognize that they drive better now than when they first received their licenses. Wide right-turn accidents can be caused by a lack of proper qualifications and experience. Without the proper experience, the driver may do one of the following.
- Fail to use turn signals
- Back up to complete the turn
- Approach the turn too quickly
- Fail to correctly utilize windows and mirrors
- Leave an opening for a vehicle to pass through during the turn
Inexperience can apply to other drivers as well. Failing to take caution and keep a safe distance until the truck finishes its right turn can cause an accident as well, leaving the vehicle’s driver liable for the crash.
Bad road conditions are known to cause accidents, especially in Indiana. Bad weather can impair a driver’s vision and make the road treacherous and slippery. These kinds of conditions can cause a wide right-turn accident as a truck or vehicle could easily slide into a collision during a winter storm.
Wide Right Turn Squeeze
A wide right turn accident can look like a head-on collision, a vehicle tip-over, or the most common, a wide right turn squeeze. Squeeze-play accidents happen when a truck making a wide right turn leaves too much space between itself and the right-side curb. Often cars will drive alongside the truck in this space. However, when the truck makes its turn, it can squeeze the car between it and the curb or between the cab and the trailer. The fault of this accident would be the turning driver for not properly completing the turn.
Truck Wide Right Turn Accident Fault
Who’s at fault for a semi-truck accident that makes a wide right turn? When an accident happens involving a commercial vehicle, there are several parties involved.
- The commercial driver
- The trucking company
- The owner of goods being transported
- Insurance companies
If you’ve been in an accident, receiving your due compensation is important. Navigating the insurance companies involved can lower your chances for a comparable settlement. It is highly recommended you work with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney.
Here are a few examples of what you can receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Missed wages
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one have been in a wide right turn accident with a commercial vehicle, Crossen Law Firm is dedicated to fighting for your full compensation. We are experienced in personal injury claims and can navigate Indiana’s comparative fault act to determine who the negligent driver is and ensure the insurance company pays a proper settlement. Contact us today at 317-401-8626 to learn more.