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Avoiding the Right Turn Squeeze

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A right-turn squeeze crash can occur when a truck driver swings out into the left lane to make more room for a sharp, right-hand turn. In doing so, the truck driver leaves too much space between the truck and the curb.

A driver behind the truck can mistake this maneuver as the truck changing lanes, and accelerate into the open lane even if the truck’s turn signal is flashing. As soon as the truck makes its sharp, right-hand turn, the trailing vehicle gets squeezed under the trailer or impacts the side of the truck.

This type of crash can be prevented if truck drivers are able to recognize the hazards that increase the risk of a crash and take defensive measures to prevent it from happening. Read the information below and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a right-turn squeeze crash.

RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS

ENVIRONMENT

Narrow intersections can make sharp, right-hand turns challenging. Drivers behind the truck may mistake the truck swinging out left as a lane change and move to the open lane to the right of the truck.

EQUIPMENT

If the truck has inoperable turn signals, dirty or obstructed mirrors, or no fender-mounted mirrors, managing the space around the truck, especially the blind spots, is difficult.

PERSONAL BEHAVIORS

Bad technique is arguably the biggest factor in right-turn crashes. When approaching a right turn, the truck driver may fail to activate the turn signal, and then swing the truck incorrectly into the left lane and bring the rear of the trailer too far from the curb. Also, if the truck driver is not using the mirrors properly to manage the space around the vehicle, the driver may not see a vehicle moving up on the right side or a pedestrian or stationary object near the curb.

KNOW THE DEFENSE

CONDUCTING A VEHICLE INSPECTION

Check side and fender-mounted mirrors before driving to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment. Pull over if the mirrors need adjusting. Repair inoperable equipment before leaving on a trip.

USE PROPER TECHNIQUE

When approaching the intersection to turn right:
  1. Move into the far right lane as soon as possible.
  2. Slow down and activate the right turn signal in advance to alert other drivers of your intention.
  3. At the intersection, ensure there is ample space to complete the right-hand turn. If there is not, continue until a safer 
      location is found.
  4. Keep the rear of the trailer in the far right lane close to the curb.
  5. Do not swing wide left and cross lane dividers.
  6. Use the right side mirrors to ensure there are no vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles in your path.
  7. Never back up to complete a turn; wait for cross traffic to clear, and then proceed forward.

Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other  parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.

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