March 26, 2018 Truck Accidents

Yellow truck in the rush hour on the highway at duskWhen truck accidents occur, they are often very severe and even catastrophic. Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers are huge both in size and weight. They can extend for over 60 feet. Semi-truck weights can exceed 60,000 pounds. An 18-wheeler’s weight and size can crush a car.

Needless to say, the effect of truck accidents can cause injuries and, unfortunately, even death to people in southern California. Truck accidents can affect drivers, truck and other vehicle occupants, and pedestrians with fractured bones, damage to spinal cords, cuts, severed limbs, extensive burns, and traumatic brain injury.

Wide Turn Truck Accidents Are Dangerous

One of the most dangerous types of truck accidents are caused by wide turns. They are sometimes referred to as “squeeze play accidents.”

Turns can always be somewhat challenging for trucks because the drivers need to allow adequate space to prevent the truck’s rolling over. But a right turn presents a particular concern. In right turns, large commercial trucks must first turn the cat slightly left before turning right. The slight left initial turn provides a swing that provides adequate space for the truck to clear the turn.

Doing so is a standard operating procedure for truck drivers. Drivers of other vehicles, however, may not be aware of the procedure. When they see the cab make its slight leftward movement, they may assume the truck is turning left or changing lanes.

As a result, they try to pass the truck on the right. They can then be caught in a squeeze play, because the truck or trailer body swings to the right, sometimes abruptly. The vehicle passing on the right can be squeezed between the truck and a road barrier, such as a wall or guardrail.

How Is Fault Assigned in Squeeze Play Accidents?

Who’s to blame for squeeze play accidents? Quite frankly, either driver can be at fault, or the fault may be shared.

All too often, truck drivers fail to signal. A signal alerts other motorists of your intentions, and should always be used when turning.

But the other driver in a squeeze play is not driving defensively. Passing a truck in the absence of a turn signal is never a good idea, because you don’t know which way it is turning. Assuming you know which direction a vehicle is going is risky when the direction might be changing.

While drivers are not expected to know how to drive a truck, and thus cannot be expected to know the procedure of turning slightly left, they should know that vehicles must always be operated safely, including around a truck. Drivers should always give trucks a wide berth.

Preventing Squeeze Play Accidents

Because of the potential danger to life and limb, always drive defensively. Specifically, drive to prevent squeeze play accidents on Los Angeles area roads. That includes the following steps:

  • Never pass a tractor trailer or big rig on the right side
  • Drive a minimum of 4 to 5 car lengths behind your vehicle and a large commercial truck
  • Never drive in a trucker’s blind spot, on either side
  • Be aware that truckers will turn their cabs slightly left before turning right

Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Southern California

Trucking accidents are complicated. The parties at fault may be truckers, other motorists, the company that owns the truck, the maintenance people, or the crew that loaded a commercial truck’s cargo. At times, getting justice in a truck accident involves investigation and litigation.

If you need an experienced truck accident attorney in Los Angeles, call The Salamati Law Firm today at 888-259-4060. We always offer a complimentary consultation at your convenience.

Additional “Truck Wide Turn Accidents” Resources:

  1. Edmunds.com, How to Share the Road with Truckers.  https://www.edmunds.com/driving-tips/how-to-share-the-road-with-truckers.html?articleid=43811
  2. OverdriveOnline.com. Video: Trucker gets squeezed into crash in downtown delivery: Preventable or not? August 15, 2016. http://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-gets-squeezed-into-crash-in-downtown-delivery-preventable-or-not/