Swinging Turns and Serious Truck Crashes in Maine

A tractor-trailer in Maine is limited to a cab and single trailer, but the total allowable length of 69 feet still means that a commercial truck needs significant space to turn. This unavoidable reality is the reason for swinging turns when there are tight corners. Unfortunately, these types of wide turns lead to serious accidents.

A commercial truck driver must have considerable skill and training to be able to navigate swinging turns without colliding with other vehicles. A swinging turn means that the truck must travel outside of its lane and into the left lane or oncoming traffic in order to get around the corner. When a driver makes an error in performing this maneuver, many different types of crashes may occur, including:

  • Squeeze-play accidents where a car to the right of the truck is impacted;
  • Rollovers;
  • Off-tracking – this occurs at low rates of speed when the rear wheel follows a track inside the path followed by the front wheel, leading to the trailer moving into an adjacent lane of traffic or the curb;
  • Side-swipe accidents with vehicles to the left of the turning truck;
  • Collisions with a pedestrian in the crosswalk; and
  • Impacts with vehicles after making the turn due to a misjudgment of the clearance after rounding the corner.

A tractor-trailer definitely needs a lot of space to successfully complete a turn. To get this additional room, a truck may swing far into the left lane. However, for vehicles traveling behind the truck, this may appear to be the beginning of a left turn rather than one to the right. This is especially true if the trailer moves too far to the left. This scenario leads to a car moving up and into the path of the turn. If the truck driver fails to see this, then a crash may occur. The existence of the side blind spots makes these collisions fairly common.

Driver Negligence May Lead to the Swinging Turn Accident

There are quite a few factors that may lead to a negligently performed swinging turn, including:

  • Driving under the influence;
  • Poor driver training and education;
  • Driver fatigue;
  • Improperly securing cargo that shifts in the trailer and leads to an imbalance that causes the trailer to travel significantly into adjacent lanes of traffic;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Overloading a trailer, which makes steering difficult;
  • Driving the truck onto an incline that can lead to a rollover accident;
  • Failing to ensure that brake lights and signals are working properly and reflectors provide visible warnings;
  • Failing to properly signal the turn;
  • Skidding during the turn;
  • Failing to stop and wait for passing traffic; and
  • Violating traffic laws, including speeding or failing to yield the right-of-way.

A driver who makes an error in the course of completing a swinging turn may be found to be in breach of the duty owed to other drivers to operate the truck in a safe manner. The driver will be liable for any harm done to occupants of another vehicle involved in the crash if he was negligent and caused harm as a direct result of the careless or reckless behavior. If it is proven that the trucking company did not provide the proper training, supervision, or background check, it also could be partially liable for the injuries of the victims.

Peter Thompson & Associates Provides Personalized Representation

If you have been involved in a truck accident, you need someone to help you manage the process of pursuing a claim, but you likely also need someone to listen to your concerns and help you determine the best way to meet ongoing medical, emotional, and financial needs. The skilled and caring personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates are committed to really listening to our clients in order to arrive at a plan of action that is based on their circumstances. When you are ready to sit down with us and discuss what happened during an initial consultation, call us at 800.804.2004.

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