Wide Turn Truck Accidents

Imagine you’re next to a commercial truck making a right turn, and suddenly, the rig crashes into your vehicle, seriously injuring you and your passenger. Wide-turn truck accidents are often severe; you could be eligible for compensation if the truck driver caused it.

If you’ve been injured, the truck accident attorneys at Nix Patterson can help you secure compensation for your injuries and other losses. While results are not guaranteed, we work on a contingency basis — meaning we only get paid if you win or settle.

What Are Wide-Turn Truck Accidents?

If you often drive around tractor-trailers, you probably notice that they often need additional room to make a turn. The truck may need to start in one lane and move into the adjacent lane to complete the turn without hitting the curb or other vehicles. This means all vehicles near the truck must be far enough away to avoid being hit.

Wide-turn truck accidents often happen if a smaller vehicle is in the trucker’s blind spot when they make a right turn. Or, the accident can happen if a passenger vehicle driver doesn’t see the trucker’s turn signals and winds up in the truck’s path.

A common wide-turn truck accident is called a ‘squeeze play’ accident. This occurs when the truck driver doesn’t see a vehicle in the left lane or doesn’t leave room for the vehicle in the right lane. When the truck tries to turn, the other vehicle is squeezed between the truck and the curb.

Unfortunately, semi-truck accidents involving smaller vehicles can lead to severe injuries, including head trauma, broken bones, internal injuries, and even death.

Why Do Tractor-Trailers Need to Make Wide Turns?

You might see a semi-truck swing wide to the left when turning right. Why does this happen? Large trucks with trailers must make a wide right turn to give their trailer enough room to make the turn safely. When turning right, the trailer does not follow the same path as the cab. Compensating for this requires the driver to swing the truck to the left.

So the trailer does not slam into the curb or various roadside objects, truckers have to allow a lot of time and room to make the turn. Experienced truck drivers know to avoid turning right onto a two-lane road when possible because of the accident risk. They should usually only make right turns where there are four lanes so there is enough room to turn safely. Otherwise, the truck could slam head-on into oncoming traffic and cause a serious or fatal truck accident.

Common Causes of Wide-Turn Accidents

When making a turn, the truck driver needs to estimate the space required to make the turn safely and correctly. Sometimes the truck driver will make a judgment error and cause an accident, but this does not excuse him from liability. If the trucker caused the accident, they could be liable in a truck accident claim or lawsuit. Wide-turn accidents happen in many ways, including:

  • Miscalculating the required space for the turn. Most wide-turn accidents involving commercial trucks happen because the driver makes a judgment error. Sadly, making a small error on a left or right turn can have severe or fatal consequences for other drivers.
  • Drifting into oncoming traffic to make space for the turn. When a truck driver makes a right turn, he may need to pull left to create enough room. But if he goes too far, he can slam head-on into oncoming traffic. Head-on crashes are rare but often fatal, especially when a massive tractor-trailer is involved.
  • Trailer collides with a car in the turning radius. The trailer behind the cab may need more room to make the turn safely.
  • Non-functional mirrors. If the truck’s mirrors are broken or misadjusted, they may not see other drivers and their surroundings, leading to a turning accident.

Other reasons that wide-turn truck accidents happen are:

  • Not checking blind spots
  • Not using turn signals
  • Driver inexperience
  • Driver incompetence
  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Reckless driving or speeding
  • Not knowing local roads

Some wide-turn accidents have multiple causes. For instance, the trucker could have turned wide too fast with an overloaded trailer and lost control. An experienced truck accident attorney at Nix Patterson can review your accident to determine who caused it and why.

CDL Turning Rules

Commercial truck drivers must undergo rigorous training before they receive their commercial driver’s license. They learn how to make turns safely in a large truck as part of their training. Turning at the proper speed is one of the most important things they learn. Making the turn safely usually requires the truck to be moving slowly. CDL rules state truckers should turn right in third gear while going about 9 miles per hour. They can be in fourth gear for a left turn and go 12 to 15 miles per hour

Truckers must keep the trailer next to the curb as much as possible. They also should go wide to avoid hitting other vehicles. Truck drivers also need to give themselves plenty of room to make turns. For instance, if they are at a busy intersection, they should go as wide as possible – without hitting other vehicles – to make the turn.

Other CDL rules for making turns include:

  • Turn slowly to give yourself enough time to make the turn safely.
  • If you are driving a commercial truck and cannot turn right without swinging too wide to the left, turn as wide as you can. Keep the truck’s rear near the curb so other drivers cannot pass you on the right.
  • If you must veer into another lane to turn right, watch closely for oncoming traffic. Give them plenty of room to drive by or stop. But do not back up because you could hit someone behind you.
  • For left turns, be sure you are in the middle of the intersection before you begin the left turn. If you turn too soon, the trailer could strike another vehicle on the left.
  • If there are two left-turn lanes, always use the right-hand one. Never start on the inside left turn lane because you would need to swing right to make the turn.

Who’s Liable in a Wide-Turn Truck Accident?

Wide-turn truck crashes happen more than we would like. When they happen, the liability is often on the truck driver. A truck driver has a commercial driver’s license and must drive safely. They should know how to make turns safely. If they go too fast or do not swing wide enough, they should be held responsible for the accident and resulting injuries. The trucking company also could be responsible due to a lack of training or overwork.

In some accidents, a third party could be to blame. For instance, if another company loaded the cargo, it shifted and caused a turning accident, they could be sued for damages.

Contact an Experienced Wide-Turn Truck Accident Attorney

Did a commercial truck take a wide turn and injure you recently? You could receive compensation in a lawsuit if the other driver was responsible for the accident. A wide-turn truck accident attorney can investigate the accident and determine if you have a case.

Nix Patterson’s wide-turn truck accident attorneys could help you receive vital funds for your recovery. Please contact us today for a free consultation about your truck accident case. Remember, we are only paid if we win.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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