Driving a big-rig truck takes skill and training. Even making turns is much more complicated for an 80,000-pound truck and trailer than a passenger vehicle. However, knowing how to turn properly is a basic skill a trucker—like any other motorist—must master before taking a truck out on the road. Not surprisingly, this does not happen. Fortunately, the victims of these horrific crashes may be entitled to compensation from the negligent trucker and trucking company for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Common Causes of Wide Turning Truck Crashes
Semis take up much more space on the road than passenger vehicles with their cabs and long tractor-trailers—sometimes even double trailers. When trucks turn, they often must swing into other lanes of traffic. For example, when a trucker turns right, he must first swing to the left in order to get enough clearance to safely execute a right turn.
When not done properly, the trucker can hit a vehicle in the adjacent lane, sometimes crushing the vehicle between the truck and the curb in what is known as a “squeeze play.” Another danger is an override or underride crash where the smaller vehicle is caught underneath the truck. Common reasons truckers cause these accidents include:
- Blind spots. Trucks have large areas of blind spots to their sides, front, and rear. It is critical that truckers are aware of vehicles surrounding them before making a turn. When a trucker fails to check his blind spots or misses a vehicle in the adjacent lane, a catastrophic crash can be the result.
- Turn signals. Truckers must use their turn signals to give other motorists warning that the truck will be turning in order to not go into the truck’s blind spot and to be able to move out of the way. Many accidents occur when truckers turn without adequate warning.
- Inadequate driver training. Because of the skill involved in turning, truck drivers must be trained in how to execute these turns properly and on what to do when these turns become challenging. Unfortunately, in the rush to get more loads delivered, truck companies often sacrifice proper training for more profits.
- Distracted driving. If truck drivers have their minds and eyes on a cell phone, control panel instruments, or food and drink, they are less likely to be aware of motorists in their blind spots or to be focused on the techniques used in making a safe turn—with a crash being the likely consequence.
- Driver fatigue. Trucker fatigue is a common problem given that truckers can drive 11 hours without a break—if they follow federal hours-of-service regulations. This can cause the trucker to use poor judgment when executing a turn, such as abruptly making a left turn into traffic or failing to yield the right of way when turning.
- Intoxication. Any driver—including a trucker—has slower reaction time and reduced driving skills in general when he is intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. This can cause truckers to make errors, such as failing to check blind spots or misinterpreting how much space is available when executing a turn.
- Unfamiliarity with the road. Truckers must often drive on unfamiliar roads. When doing so, they must exercise even more care before making a turn to be certain they know how much space they have, how far they need to swing out, and where other motorists are in relation to their blind spots.
Wide Turning Truck Crashes Can Cause Devastating Injuries
Even though a truck is going at a slower speed when making a turn, victims can suffer catastrophic injuries in these wrecks, especially if they are hit head-on, crushed between the truck and the curb or other vehicle, or in an override or underride wreck. Injuries victims often suffer include:
- Broken and crushed bones
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries—including paralysis
Were you injured in one of these accidents? David Brauns is here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our firm today at (404) 998-5252 or start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David.
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