Beware the Swinging Trailer (and Other Dangers Sharing the Road with Trucks)

Swinging Truck TrailerLarge semi-trucks need significantly more room than passenger cars when making turns and navigating curves. Most of the time, they will need to veer into another lane to begin their turn, referred to as “swinging.” If you notice this happening, you must give the trucker plenty of room and proceed cautiously to prevent you or your passengers from becoming seriously injured.

Many vehicle drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians do not realize that this is a common part of a truck driver’s driving procedures and end up caught in their turning path. A Columbus truck accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for injuries and other damages in an accident.

Why does a trailer need to swing while making a turn?

Due to their large size and weight, maneuvering 18-wheeler trucks, especially when making turns, is challenging. When a truck driver decides to make a right turn, they must swing the trailer to the left. A single mistake or error while doing this can lead to the truck striking another vehicle, causing a severe accident.

Many roadways are not wide enough for tractor-trailers. Therefore, when a truck attempts to turn right or go around a curve, they are taught to swing left. During this maneuver, a small passenger car may see an opportunity to pass the truck, inadvertently entering the truck’s pathway and causing a collision.

What type of accidents can arise from swinging trailers in Columbus?

There are several different types of accidents that can arise from swinging trailers in Columbus, such as:

  • Override and underride accidents
  • Sideswipe accidents
  • T-bone accidents
  • Truck rollover accidents
  • Head-on collisions

Causes of wide turn or swinging turn truck accidents

It is no secret that semi-trucks are large, wide, and heavy. They take up a tremendous amount of space on the roadway and have several large blind spots. Therefore, if you are in one of these blind spots, the truck driver will not be able to see you when swinging wide to make a turn. Some of the causes of wide turn or swinging turn truck accidents include:

  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Failure to check blind spots
  • Failure to ensure that other vehicles are not in the adjacent lane
  • Lack of experience
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Driving while drunk or intoxicated
  • Unfamiliar with the area or road

Sometimes, it can be the trucking company’s fault for these accidents. For example, if the trucking company does not repair or maintain the truck and the truck’s brake lights or turning lights are out, other drivers and road users are unable to know what actions the truck driver is planning to take. In addition, if a loading crew overloads the trailer, this can make it more difficult for the semi-truck to maneuver the truck and make a successful wide or swinging turn. As a result, the loading crew could be held accountable if an accident occurs.

Other dangers that may emerge when sharing the road with large trucks

Numerous dangers can arise when sharing the road with large trucks. Here are some common risks to be aware of:

  • Longer stopping times: Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, approximately 20 times the average size of a passenger vehicle. Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks require more space and time to reach a complete stop. If you quickly jump in front of a semi-truck and hit your brakes, the truck may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. Additionally, the faster an 18-wheeler is traveling, the more room it will need to stop. For example, a truck travelling 70 mph on a Columbus highway requires significantly more stopping distance than one traveling at 35 mph on a local road.
  • Wind susceptibility: Big rigs struggle to maneuver through high winds. During windy conditions, truck drivers may have difficulty controlling their trucks. If a tractor-trailer loses balance and begins to tip, it can result in a dangerous or devastating accident.
  • Slower reaction times: Unlike small cars and motorcycles, semi-trucks cannot maneuver quickly around traffic. Their size and weight limit their ability to navigate roadways and respond to sudden challenges promptly. If a situation suddenly arises, an 18-wheeler’s slower reaction time can lead to tragic accidents.
  • Reduced vision: Big rigs have several large blind spots. At any given time, you may be in a truck driver’s blind spot without realizing it. This is dangerous because the truck driver cannot see you in their mirrors, possibly leading them to assume that you are not there. If they switch lanes or turn, they may collide with your vehicle, causing catastrophic injuries.

Have you recently been struck by a swinging trailer in a truck accident? If so, the Columbus truck accident attorneys at Soroka & Associates are here to assist you. Our team knows and understands the unique laws and regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. Therefore, when working with us, you can rest assured, knowing that you are in well-informed and experienced legal hands. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation at our Columbus office today.