Am I at a higher risk for a truck accident if I’m in an intersection? Do turning trucks pose a threat?

According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, over 200,000 truck accidents occur each year, severely injuring more than 100,000 victims. Of these accidents, nearly an astounding 35 percent occur in or as a result of an intersection turn.

Think about it: how often have you come to an intersection and had to slowly inch into it because you weren’t 100 percent sure that someone wouldn’t T-bone you? How often have you held your breath as a semi turned toward you and came within inches of scraping off your door? Due to the explicit design and rules of intersections, even the slightest miscalculation of time or angle could cause a severe accident.

Unfortunately, due to a big truck’s size, length, and weight, it’s extremely difficult for the truck driver to accurately calculate his turns. As a result, turning at intersections—especially turning left at intersections—is one of the main regular causes of truck accidents.

Crossroads: A Turn for the Worse

Intersections are aptly nicknamed crossroads, as they can quickly become a turning point in a trucker’s life. You see, when a truck turns, the driver must be able to successfully judge not only the space in which he’s planning to turn, but also the entire area around the truck. The risk and potential damage is much greater for larger trucks, as the trailer end must clear the curb, pedestrians, and other vehicles.

Right hand turns are generally considered easier for truckers as the turn radius is smaller and drivers can see the intended path more easily than when turning left. However, left-hand turns pose several problems that can cause massive damage and severe injuries to truckers themselves as well as anyone in their path. Complications include:

  • Decreased visibility: Because trucks are so long, drivers have an extended blind spot on the left side. Thus, visibility is decreased when driving straight, and the situation worsens when making a turn. When a trucker turns left he may not be able to see cars next to him inch forward or pedestrians running against the light until it is too late. At that point, his only options will be to collide with the obstruction, or veer against it ultimately raising the risk of a t-bone, rollover, or jackknife collision.
  • The need to navigate through and cross additional traffic: Turning left at an intersection triples the odds of a collision as trucks are forced to turn in front of traffic (in some cases, up to three lanes of oncoming traffic) in addition to paying attention to two bike lanes and a crosswalk. If these lanes become compromised for any reason, a collision may be unavoidable.
  • Precariously wide turns: Tuck beds and trailers require more room than regular vehicles to make 90 degree turns. Since trailers are longer than regular cars, they require a broader angle of entry when turning. This is why left turn lanes are placed farther back than straight lanes: to provide extra space to accommodate wide turns. Truck drivers must compensate for their truck’s length by widening their turn radius. However, if the driver misjudges the turn or if other drivers or pedestrians are blocking his path, the trucker will be unable to properly maneuver, thus increasing the chance of an accident.

Making the Choice to Turn for the Better

Due to the potential complications and difficulties that truckers face when turning at intersections, it is always a good idea to give them a wide birth. However, even when you try to be as accommodating as possible, when a truck falters or the driver loses control there may not be anything you can do to prevent you and your family from suffering tragic injuries.

That’s where we come in.

The Packard Law Firm can help you navigate through the crossroads of your accident and get you the help and recovery your family needs. So remember, you’ll never be stuck with nowhere to turn as long as you have us. Schedule an appointment today by filling out our contact form and see how we can help you move forward.