Have you ever been next to a truck that is in the middle of making a turn, and thought that the truck would still end up hitting your car? You are not the only one. Sometimes, you can maintain as much distance as possible and still end up injured when a truck makes a turn.
Turning accidents caused by truck drivers are almost completely avoidable. The Houston truck accident attorneys at The Kishinevsky Law Firm are the passionate legal representation that you need for your injury case.
How does the size of a truck contribute to a turning accident?
The size and weight of a truck requires truck drivers to take extra precaution when making a turn. Whether it is at an intersection or on a street, truck drivers need an additional amount of space and time to make a safe turn. Truck drivers cannot maneuver a truck in the same manner as a compact car; they must ensure there is enough room and time for the trailer of the truck to follow the cab.
Truck drivers must understand how to safely perform the following types of turns:
- Left-hand turns. For truckers to make a left-hand turn, they must reach the center of an intersection before attempting the turn. Truck drivers can hit the car in another lane if they turn too soon. Staying in the right lane can also help truck drivers stay aware of drivers on their left side.
- Right-hand turns. Just like with a left-hand turn, truck drivers must turn slowly to avoid swinging into another lane and striking other vehicles. They must also swing wide to keep the tractor-trailer of their vehicle close to the curb. If a truck driver swings wide to the left without signaling a right-hand turn, other motorists may assume that the truck is turning to the left and try to pass on the right, resulting in an accident.
- U-turns. U-turns as especially risky because they take a long time to maneuver, which means traffic can be blocked for a while. They also affect the size of the blind spots in the trucks, which means the trucker may not see a driver who is “sneaking up” to try to slip through the space while the truck is turning. A driver, motorcycle rider, cyclist, or pedestrian is likely to be hit by the reversing truck, or even a car on the opposite side of the road attempting to get through.
How can trucks cause accidents when making turns?
Because truck drivers should understand how to execute turns safely, their failure to do so can be an act of negligence. Some of the ways that truck drivers can cause turning accidents and injuries include:
- Hitting vehicles while making wide turns. When truck drivers make wide turns, their trucks can end up in the second lane to the left or the right. This can cause problems for drivers traveling in opposite directions or who are located in the second lane.
- Failing to wait for traffic to clear. Trucks who are making turns in intersections are at risk of blocking traffic in the opposite direction. Even though truck drivers are required to make wide turns, there are occasions when unnecessarily swinging wide can cause harm to vehicles moving in the opposite direction of traffic.
- Failing to check blind spots. Just like the size and weight of the truck, the truck’s blind spots are larger than a compact car. The larger blind spots on trucks make it extremely difficult to notice oncoming drivers. When truck drivers leave too much space in the next lane or proceed to turn in the opposite direction too quickly, they may not see motorists attempting to pass them.
- Failing to use turn signals. Sometimes, truck accidents happen because truck drivers fail to practice simple maneuvers like using turn signals. Miscommunication and assumptions can be avoided if truck drivers use signals to indicate their turning direction.
- Poor driver training. Turning a truck requires a significant amount of skill and training. Unfortunately, trucking companies may fail to properly train their drivers before allowing them to drive. Trucking companies may forego a driver’s training in an effort to take on more deliveries.
Who can be liable in a Houston truck accident?
When you have been injured in a turning accident by a truck driver, it can be daunting trying to figure out who to hold liable for your injuries. Depending on the details of the crash, there are several parties who may be held liable:
The trucking company
You can hold the trucking company liable for your injuries based on the fact that the trucking company is responsible for the truck driver’s actions if the truck driver was in the course and scope of employment when the crash occurred. Even in cases where truck drivers make an intentional decision to drive recklessly, the trucking company can still be liable for the driver’s actions. Trucking companies can also contribute to a turning accident by requiring drivers to take on additional deliveries and rushing them to complete them or by engaging in other behavior which creates a heightened risk of their drivers being involved in a crash.
The truck driver
You also have the option of pursuing legal action against the truck driver for your injuries. In many turning accidents, the truck driver’s negligence was the main cause. Truck drivers are expected to maintain complete control of their commercial vehicles, and are in control of determining the appropriate space and time to execute their turns. Just like other motorists, truck drivers may take unnecessary risks and place the safety of themselves and others in jeopardy.
When you’ve been injured in a truck accident, there is more on the line than just your finances. It is difficult to properly heal from your injuries and start the process of rebuilding your life when insurance companies are denying you the just compensation that you deserve. At The Kishinevsky Law Firm, our purpose is to help you reach the best possible outcome for your case. Call our Houston office at 832-LAW-1111 or submit our contact form today for a free consultation.