Many things that are unique to large trucks are also what make them dangerous. The size and shape of a tractor-trailer, for example, requires the vehicle to make a wide turn, where it swings in the opposite direction to make a right-hand turn. Wide turns can place surrounding drivers in dangerous positions. Contact us to request a free consultation if you’ve been injured in a wide-turn truck accident in Dallas.
Commercial trucks are not designed to make turns at the same sharp angle as other motor vehicles. Instead, they are forced to make wide turns. Large commercial trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and big rigs must occupy an extra lane of traffic when executing a turn. When making a right-hand turn, for example, a large truck must swing into the left-hand lane to put the truck in a position to make the turn.
A turning truck presents a significant danger to all surrounding vehicles and roadway users. A turning truck driver may fail to see a smaller passenger car in its blind spot directly next to the truck, for example, and turn on top of the vehicle. These accidents can lead to crushed passenger cars and severely injured occupants. If a truck is making an unsafe or illegal left-hand turn, it may cut off an oncoming motorist, also causing an accident.
You may be able to keep yourself safe from a wide-turn truck accident in Dallas by paying attention and positioning your vehicle in the safest possible place while a big rig is turning. Never try to pass a turning truck, especially in the lane closest to the road being turned upon. This is a blind spot for the truck driver, who may not see you and turn on top of you. Trying to pass on the other side of the truck also puts you at risk, as the truck must swing into that lane to make the turn.
Instead of trying to pass a truck, come to a complete stop at least 200 feet behind the back of the trailer and wait patiently for the truck to execute the turn. Do not honk at the truck driver, flash your headlights or be aggressive in other ways that could throw off the trucker’s concentration and increase the risk of an accident. Only honk your horn if it is necessary to prevent a collision.
It is a truck driver’s legal responsibility to safely and prudently execute a turn. Truck drivers receive special training in how to properly control and maneuver 18-wheelers, including how to successfully make wide turns. They must use their turn signals, check to make sure surrounding lanes are clear, watch out for blind spots and safely execute the turn.
If a truck driver fails to use caution, due care and the appropriate driving techniques when turning, he or she could be held responsible for a related wide-turn accident. The rule of vicarious liability may make the trucking company responsible, as well. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that holds an employer accountable for the actions and mistakes of its on-duty employees.
Although most truck drivers are independent contractors, not employees, vicarious liability still applies under federal law. This means that if a truck driver made a mistake that caused your wide-turn accident, you may be able to file a claim with the trucking company rather than the individual driver. This could result in greater financial compensation for your property damage and medical bills.
If you were recently injured in a wide turn truck accident in Dallas, Texas, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., we can carefully review your case and discuss your legal options in more detail to help your family recover. Please call (214) 609-1140 or contact us online today for more information.