The safe operation of a truck requires rigorous training and years of experience. Truck drivers must exercise extreme caution when driving and, in particular, turning and changing lanes. Trucks have large blind spots, which make other motorists invisible to the trucker. When truck drivers lack sufficient training or do not exercise caution when operating the truck, accidents are bound to happen.
One of the most prevalent accidents involving trucks is swinging turn accidents. These accidents occur when a truck driver is making a swinging turn, which causes the truck to come into the path of other vehicles in adjacent lanes.
When turning, large commercial vehicles require more space than other passenger vehicles. That is why truck drivers may need to perform what is known as a swinging or wide turn, which is the practice of moving into an adjacent lane before turning to initiate the turn in the opposite direction.
When vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians get caught in the path of a truck making a swinging turn, devastating injuries may occur. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an accident caused by a truck making a wide turn, contact a Chicago truck accident lawyer to explore your options for compensation.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Swinging Turn Truck Accident?
- How Common Are Swinging Turn Accidents?
- Common Causes of Swinging Turn Accidents
- What Are the Safety Requirements When Making a Swinging Turn?
- Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Swinging Turn Accidents?
- Are Trucking Companies Responsible for Swinging Turn Accidents?
- Injuries in a Swinging Turn Truck Accident
- Compensation After a Swinging Turn Accident
- How Can a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
- Client Testimonial
What Is a Swinging Turn Truck Accident?
Like any other vehicle on a public road, semi-trucks and other large vehicles must act in a manner that ensures their conduct will not threaten the safety of others. Yet far too often, semi-truck drivers engage in swinging turns or turns where a motorist starts heading in one direction and then turns in the opposite to give a wider birth when turning.
In practice, most swinging turns happen when a semi-truck driver begins a right-hand turn by moving the cab left, making the turn, and letting the trailer swing into line with the cab. Wide turns and swinging turns present unique dangers to other vehicles on the roadways of Chicago and can cause serious harm.
Semi-trucks have large blind spots, which cause other nearby vehicles to go unnoticed.
When a semi-truck makes a swinging turn and they can’t see the vehicles behind them or in the lane next to them, disaster can ensue:
- The trailer can swing into oncoming traffic going in the same or opposite directions, causing a collision.
- The trailer can also trap and crush vehicles in parallel lanes if a truck turns too narrowly or widely.
- When drivers attempt to correct turning mistakes, they can also damage the cars behind them if they back up without properly checking their mirrors.
Regardless of how the swinging turn truck accident occurred, you may hold the truck driver liable for the collision if you can prove his negligence.
How Common Are Swinging Turn Accidents?
Each year, nearly 120,000 truck accidents result in bodily injuries and over 410,000 accidents cause property damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 20 percent of truck accidents occur when trucks run out of their lane. More than 10 percent of truck accidents occur when trucks sideswipe other vehicles going in the same direction. These accidents may be the result of trucks making swinging turns or changing lanes in an unsafe manner.
With the proper training and vigilant driving, swinging turn truck accidents are easily avoidable. Semi-truck drivers should undergo extensive training to ensure they know how to make wide turns safely without endangering others. However, sometimes drivers act too quickly or make negligent decisions that result in lethal turns.
When making a swinging turn, a truck can strike another vehicle or force it off the road. Many swinging turn accidents occur because the truck driver fails to check side-view mirrors or because vehicles linger in the truck’s blind spot, which makes them invisible to the trucker.
Although many accidents occur because of unpredictable factors like roadway problems, poor weather, or mechanical failures, driver negligence causes most accidents. Drivers, often due to unfamiliarity with an area, can miscalculate their turns or not notice blind spots. After a long shift, drivers may lose focus and fail to operate their semis with proper care.
Common Causes of Swinging Turn Accidents
Most swinging turn accidents occur because of the trucker’s negligence. Truck drivers must exercise caution when performing wide turns. Before initiating the move, the truck driver must ensure that the truck will not come into the path of another vehicle in adjacent lanes when making a swinging turn.
The many causes of swinging turn accidents include:
- The driver’s lack of experience
- The driver’s inadequate training
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Fatigue or drowsy driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to use turn signals before initiating the move
- Driving an overloaded truck
- Driving with improperly secured cargo
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Faulty brakes or steering system
- Failure to wait for passing traffic before turning
If the injured party can prove that the truck driver was negligent when making a swinging turn, the trucker will be held liable for the injured party’s resulting damages and losses. However, proving the truck driver’s negligence may require a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the crash. Consider speaking with a Chicago truck accident lawyer to discuss liability for the accident in your particular case.
What Are the Safety Requirements When Making a Swinging Turn?
When obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a truck driver must learn how to make a swinging turn, including wide right and left turns.
According to the CDL training manual, when making a wide right turn truck drivers must:
- Keep the rear of the truck as close to the curb as possible
- Turn slowly
- Turn wide when completing the turn
- When making a right turn, do not turn wide to the left
- If your truck must cross into an adjacent lane, watch out for traffic before making the turn
For left turns, the safety requirements outlined in the CDL manual include:
- Go to the center of the intersection before initiating the turn
- Use the right-hand lane to turn when there are two lanes for the left turn
Failure to follow the safety requirements when making a swinging turn can result in a preventable collision.
Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Swinging Turn Accidents?
As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of swinging turn accidents occur because of negligence on the part of the trucker. It is the truck driver’s responsibility to ensure that making a swinging turn is safe before initiating the move. A trucker must always make sure that there is no traffic in adjacent lanes and there is enough room to safely perform a swinging turn.
Swinging turn accidents can happen when turning left or right. When making a left turn, the driver must make sure that there is no oncoming traffic to make the turn safely. However, swinging turn accidents happen more often when turning right. If the truck driver makes a swinging turn with vehicles in adjacent lanes, an accident may happen. Swinging turn accidents can be deadly even when they happen at low speeds.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and passenger car occupants may not survive a collision with a large truck. Thus, truck drivers must exercise caution when performing any dangerous maneuvers on the road, including swinging or wide turns or lane changes.
If the truck driver fails to exercise due care or disobeys traffic laws when making a swinging turn and causes a collision, victims of the accident can hold the trucker responsible for their injuries and losses.
Are Trucking Companies Responsible for Swinging Turn Accidents?
In some cases, you can hold the truck driver’s employer-the trucking company –responsible for the swinging turn accident.
Common reasons to hold trucking companies liable for swinging turn accidents include:
- The trucking company pressures its truck drivers to disobey traffic laws.
- The company fails to provide adequate training.
- The company fails to check the trucker’s qualifications when hiring.
- The company fails to maintain the truck in good condition (the truck experiences mechanical failures or lacks important safety equipment)
When a trucking company’s negligence or carelessness contributes to the swinging turn accident, the company can be held liable for the crash. Often, holding a trucking company for a truck accident is a challenging task, which is why you may need the assistance of a Chicago truck accident lawyer to investigate your accident, gather and review relevant evidence and records, and identify all potentially liable parties in your case.
Injuries in a Swinging Turn Truck Accident
Because of the size and weight of the truck, accidents involving large trucks can result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries to people involved in the collision.
While injuries in swinging turn accidents vary from one case to another, some of the most common ones include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of a limb
- Wrongful death
A truck accident victim may have to deal with complications for the rest of their life. If the injury is disabling, the victim may not be able to work, which will result in the loss of income. Mounting medical bills and a temporary or permanent disability can cause physical, emotional, and financial hardship. Fortunately, truck accident victims can seek compensation for their expenses, losses, and damages by filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit.
Compensation After a Swinging Turn Accident
Unfortunately, drivers and trucking companies can be negligent in following the rules and regulations enacted to keep the streets safe. When drivers make poor decisions that affect the safety of others, they should be held accountable for their conduct and the resulting injuries that happen.
On average, the costs associated with swinging turn accident injuries can range from several thousand dollars for minor injuries to millions of dollars when someone loses her life in a crash. The factors of any particular collision will determine the value of the harm, and working with an experienced professional can help you assess your case if you were hurt.
An experienced swinging turn attorney understands the special considerations relevant in truck accident cases and can evaluate all of your damages and losses to determine a fair compensation amount.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of your injuries, you may recover:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- The loss of income and employment benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Consider contacting a Chicago truck accident lawyer to determine what damages you should recover in your particular case. An experienced lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
If you or your loved one was involved in a swinging turn accident, you might want to consider seeking legal counsel. A Chicago truck accident lawyer will thoroughly review your case and help you pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.
Truck accidents caused by swinging turns are often difficult to prove, which is why an in-depth investigation may be necessary to gather all available evidence proving negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. A lawyer can find and interview witnesses who saw how the swinging turn accident occurred. Your lawyer can also gain access to surveillance or traffic camera footage showing the moment of the crash.
Some types of evidence after a truck accident may disappear if you do not take the necessary steps to preserve it. For this reason, it is imperative to act quickly. Get a case review with a Chicago truck accident lawyer to discuss the details of your accident and explore your options for compensation.