Left-Hand Turn Semi Truck Accident Attorneys
Semi-Trucks and Left-Hand Turn Accidents
Have you ever noticed a delivery truck or semi-truck driving in an odd sequence? It may seem like it’s making extra turns, taking the long way around to its destination, or is even stopped and parked in a location that’s far from practical for making a delivery. For example, you may often spot something like a FedEx truck parked in that middle turn lane when it could have easily pulled into the building’s parking lot instead. Now, why would a truck do that?
If semi-truck drivers have made you scratch your head, you might be pleased to know it’s not because they’re bad drivers (at least, we hope not). Instead, they’re likely following strict safety protocols set forth by their employer. The most commonly enforced of these safety protocols is the instruction to avoid making left-hand turns with their trucks. And it’s for a very good reason.
Why Left-Hand Turns Are Dangerous?
Just in case you’re not sure what we mean when we refer to left-hand turn semi-truck accidents, it’s when a truck wants to turn left, but must wait for oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the road to clear. An accident occurs when the truck turning left misjudges the speed or distance of oncoming traffic or misjudges its own speed when making the turn, resulting in an oncoming car colliding with them.
Left-hand turn semi-truck accidents are among the most common accidents to occur. And that doesn’t just go for semi-trucks—drivers of all types of cars are liable to misjudge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic, leading them to make left-hand turns when it’s not safe to do so.
But when it comes to semi-trucks and tractor trailers, that misjudgment can be even more deadly, especially for the cars around it. Because semi-trucks usually have an unmatched size advantage over other cars on the road, if another car hits them, that unsuspecting car is likely going to suffer more damage than the semi-truck itself. Whether it’s a head-on collision, a T-bone impact, or a rear-end swipe, the smaller vehicle is almost always the one that comes out worse for wear. The same is unfortunately true for the driver and passengers inside it.
Semi-Trucks Making Left-Hand Turns
It may seem like a simple accident to avoid, and yet, it still happens; a semi-truck needing to make a left-hand turn thinks it has plenty of time to get through before the next car approaches, but it’s like the driver forgets a few important factors. A semi-truck not only turns more slowly than a regular vehicle, but it also has a much longer body to get all the way through that turn. While a normal-sized vehicle may have made the turn successfully in that same window, a semi-truck can instead become like a brick wall in the middle of the road.
It’s a cruel twist that semi-trucks take more time but also have less time to make left-hand turns; their heavyweight makes them slower, and their longer bodies take more time to clear the turn. So no matter what speed the cars around them are traveling, those left-hand turns are always a risky move for semis to make. And that brings us back to the sometimes strange behavior of these kinds of trucks.
Because of the sheer danger of a seemingly simple maneuver, several trucking companies have actually outlawed (or at least strongly discouraged) their drivers from ever making left-hand turns. UPS was one of the first companies to implement such a strategy all the way back in the 1970s. They disbanded left-hand turns and instead came up with a driving method called “loop dispatch.”
Loop dispatch is a method of plotting deliveries specifically in a right-turn-only loop, always starting with one side of the street and working back down the other side. In 2008, UPS even launched its own routing software that would help drivers calculate the best route to take in an effort to specifically favor right-hand turns.
UPS claims that using their loop dispatch method increases their company efficiency by saving them up to $400 million annually in fuel, wages, and other vehicle costs. But we tend to think they also implemented this method because they were aware of the dangers of semi-trucks and other large vehicles making left-hand turns. They were probably also tired of their drivers causing accidents. Not to mention, fewer accidents causes an increase in “efficiency” too!
It’s pretty telling that companies who employ large trucks try to keep their drivers from making left-hand turns. If they didn’t, they could have some serious trouble on their hands (and their insurance plans). But even with the best of intentions, these severe accidents can still happen.
Finding Fault for Left-Hand Turn Accidents
Picture this: you’re on your way to work, driving the same route you always do. You know the proper speed limits like the back of your hand and are following them just as you should. You’re being a model driver, paying attention to the road ahead, and are even ignoring the tantalizingly hot coffee sitting in your cup holder until you get to work.
Up ahead, you see a large semi-truck sitting in the left-hand turn lane with its blinker on. It’s making it nice and clear that it wants to cross your lane and turn. But your light is still green as you approach the intersection, and you know that legally means you have the right-of-way.
Even so, like a slow-motion nightmare, you watch as the truck takes the break between you and the car ahead to make its move. Its engine roars as it attempts to dash across your lane. Even though the truck was in the proper lane and had its blinker going, you still hit it; even though you had enough visibility to see it start turning left before you reached the intersection, you couldn’t avoid slamming into its long cargo hold.
Does that mean you’re the one at fault for this horrendous accident?
Breathe a sigh of relief—the answer is almost always a resounding “no.”
When it comes to left-hand turn semi-truck accidents, the truck making the left turn is usually the one found at fault for the resulting accident. Even if the truck made it clear it was trying to turn, and even if you may have had enough space to attempt to react and avoid an accident, the law says that you, as the oncoming driver, do not have to slow down or stop for left-turning drivers. Now, if you have a red light or a stop sign to heed, that may change. But if all road indicators point to you having the right-of-way, that means you are not at fault for the accident.
And that’s good, because accidents with semi-trucks can be devastating. If you’re involved in any kind of accident with one, you may be facing a totaled car, debilitating injuries, and sometimes worse.
Contact a Left-Hand Turn Semi Truck Accident Attorney
No matter how high the cost, the trucking company who caused your left-hand turn semi-truck accident should be held responsible for all the damages you suffer. Their insurance provider should compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, other pain and suffering, or the loss of a loved one. And the right left-hand turn semi truck accident attorney will help make sure that happens.