You may know that intersections are one of the most common locations of traffic accidents. As all of the lanes of traffic converge, cross, and intertwine, there are thousands of potential ways that drivers could suffer serious injuries. However, one of the most dangerous situations involves a driver turning left without properly checking for cross-traffic—and if that driver is hauling a two-ton trailer, the chances of an accident increase dramatically.
Many semi-truck accidents occur when a driver attempts a left turn, often due to:
- Speeding. Some drivers will turn quickly through a yellow (or even red) traffic light in order to avoid another turn sitting in traffic. Truck drivers are under enormous pressure to meet deadlines, making it tempting for them to speed through lights. Unfortunately, if the car traveling straight is also trying to “beat the light,” they may collide at the intersection.
- Failure to look. Truckers must properly scan all of their mirrors as well as the areas near and around their vehicles before attempting a difficult maneuver. If a driver neglects to check crosswalks, sidewalks, or other traffic lanes before attempting a turn, he may be held liable for causing an accident.
- Distractions. Although texting and using handheld devices is strictly forbidden for commercial fleet drivers, some truckers will still attempt to combat the long hours in their cab by multi-tasking. Using a tablet, computer, television, radio or other device can pull a driver’s attention away from the wheel, while eating and texting also require the use of his hands.
- Driver fatigue. Long hours behind the wheel can easily dull reaction times and impair the judgment of a driver. A tired driver is more likely to attempt risky maneuvers, misjudge gaps in traffic, and ignore the warning signs of oncoming dangers.
- Drug use. Truckers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are a major hazard on the roads. Controlling an 18-wheeler takes a sharp mind and quick reflexes, but drugged drivers are often inattentive and may freeze or overcorrect when faced with potential dangers.
- Lack of training. As controlling a passenger vehicle is far different from hauling a trailer, drivers should always undergo an extensive amount of training before being entrusted to handle a semi-truck. A trucker should be tested regularly on his ability to back up safely, stop in time to avoid a collision, and turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle without forcing the oncoming car to slam on its brakes to avoid a crash.
Semi Left-Turn Accidents Are Nearly Always a Trucker’s Fault
In most cases, the responsibility for an accident with a vehicle turning left is almost always assigned to the left-turning vehicle. This is because the driver turning left has a responsibility to scan the road before attempting the change in direction. However, if you were also partly to blame for the accident, we can tell you if you have a viable accident case. Fill out the quick contact form on this page to get in touch with an attorney at Wayne Wright LLP. Your contact with us is free, and you don’t owe us anything unless we recover for you.