One of the most difficult maneuvers routinely executed by semi truck drivers while on the road is a simple right hand turn. Semis cannot make tight turns so when a tight right hand turn is necessary, a semi truck may begin the turn by first swinging wide to the left and then beginning the right turn. These wide turns are frequently seen in highly populated areas with many side streets, and they pose serious threats to vehicles to the left of the semi before the turn, the right of the semi before the turn, or even those that will be near the semi once the turn is completed.
A major problem that occurs when large trucks attempt these wide right turns is that they may end up impacting a vehicle to their left as they swing out of the right lane, or if they swing through the corner of the left lane on completing the turn. Also, as the truck swings left the actual intention to turn right may not be clear and instead may look like a late attempt to change lanes. When this occurs, some drivers may be fooled into thinking the right lane is now clear and may proceed forward, placing their car between the semi truck and the right curb and in the path of travel once the semi begins to turn.
Even if a truck swings left in an effort to make a tight right turn, it may not be enough to keep the truck safe and away from other traffic once the turn is finished. If the truck swings too far or not far enough, opposing traffic may be at risk for a collision with the truck as the truck makes its turn.
When an impact occurs between a car and a semi in this manner this sandwich effect is referred to as a "squeeze", and a truck’s extreme weight can create an extremely dangerous situation for a trapped driver. A large truck can weigh more than fifteen times than that of a passenger vehicle, and this significant difference in size leaves no chance for the smaller vehicle avoiding being crushed. Collisions with semi trucks are very dangerous to all those involved but in the majority of accidents, the damage will disproportionately be done to the passenger car in the crash: cars just are not capable of withstanding the force of an impact caused by a moving semi that weights several tons. Fortunately these types of accidents usually occur at low speeds and seldom result in serious injury, however there may still be significant damage to your automobile.
Truck drivers are required by law to look out for passenger vehicles and others who share the roads with them. They undergo extensive training and re-testing to maintain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDL holders should know the distance necessary to make a safe turn. Swinging too far to the left or failing to check a blind spot on the right are both careless errors. These preventable mistakes are known as “negligence” and result in liability for the accident. If the squeeze play causes injury or death, the negligent driver and other responsible parties are liable to victims for personal injury damages and to surviving family members for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Using appropriate signaling and waiting for a clear opportunity are basic rules for truckers when attempting a wide right turn. Being informed on the rules and regulations of truck drivers can help you in your squeeze-play truck accident case.
The training that truck drivers receive provides them with the knowledge of proper distance needed for making a safe wide turn. If a truck driver fails to gauge distances and cause a squeeze-play truck accident, it is clear negligence. If a truck driver has failed to make sure that it is safe for them to make a wide turn, and they collide with another vehicle, they are liable for any injuries made by their decision.
The Federal Motor Carrier Regulations and Texas state laws impose liability for the driver’s negligence on the groups, individuals, and businesses operating the truck. This means that the company using the trucks to transport products must still pay the damage award, even if the entity itself could not drive. This expands the victim’s opportunities to recover damages against not only against negligent drivers, but any relevant employers, corporations, and insurers as well.
In many cases, the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck, or even the company that the trucker works for may be held legally liable for any damages that result from an accident. This can include the injuries suffered by all those affected in the crash as well as other damages, like income lost due to time missed from work for treatment and recovery.
When an accident occurs between a semi truck and a car, it may be the fault of either the truck driver or the driver of the car, depending on the accident. Any motorists may make an error in driving or make act with reckless disregard towards the safety of others, causing a dangerous situation to arise and a possible collision to occur. Speaking with a knowledgeable injury lawyer who handles truck accident cases may be the best way to learn about your legal rights and whether a recovery may be possible in your case.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a semi-truck making a right hand turn, Brent M. Cordell can explain what you can expect at every step of your personal injury case. Contact us at www.cordell-law.com or call 1- 844 - 8LEGAL8 for a free consultation.