Is It Dangerous for Tractor-Trailers to Make U-Turns?

At The Embry Law Firm, we get asked a lot of questions about accidents and injuries. Many of the questions we receive relating to tractor-trailer accidents relate to the actions of the truck driver. We often have clients ask us about blind spots, jackknifing, and illegal turns.

Recently, someone asked us whether it is dangerous for tractor-trailers to make a U-turn. Since so many people ask us similar questions, we will address the issue of tractor-trailer U-turns in this post.

Tractor-Trailers and U-Turns

There is a general rule in the trucking industry that truck drivers should avoid “uncontrolled U-turns”. A controlled turn means the truck driver has someone spotting them, or guiding them through the maneuver. U-turns should only be attempted when it is clear that the maneuver can be completed in a safe manner.

If the truck driver cannot meet the requirements of a “controlled turn” then a U-turn should be avoided. We should note that, generally, tractor-trailers will not be in conditions that allow a U-turn. It is generally best for the truck driver to find an alternate route or find a better way to enter and/or exit the area.

Are Tractor-Trailer U-Turns Dangerous?

Unlike smaller passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles are much larger, heavier, and more difficult to control. Tractor-trailer U-turns are more dangerous than other vehicles for several reasons, such as:

  • Because of the time it takes for a tractor-trailer to complete the maneuver, U-turns take a long time for large vehicles and can result in the truck blocking the road, becoming stuck, or holding up traffic at intersections.
  • When the truck driver begins a U-turn, there is no way for them to see in both directions enough to determine if there is time to complete the maneuver.
  • Most roads are not wide enough to accommodate a tractor-trailer U-turn. Generally, the driver has to make a series of corrections before completing the U-turn.
  • Many truck drivers operate solo, meaning there is no one there to spot them during turns.
  • Once the truck has completed the U-turn, it will take additional time for the truck to accelerate and get adequately back on the road.

As you can see, there are several reasons why tractor-trailer U-turns can be dangerous.

What to Do After a Tractor-Trailer U-Turn Accident

If you are involved in a tractor-trailer U-turn accident, take the following steps:

  • Call 911 immediately to report the incident and request assistance.
  • Take photos of the scene, if you are able to do so.
  • Gather contact information, driver’s license, and insurance information from other drivers involved.
  • Gather contact information from witnesses at the scene.
  • Get medical attention, even if you don’t think you are seriously injured. Document that your concerns are related to a truck accident.

Taking these steps helps document your truck accident and any injuries you may have. This will be important if you file an insurance or truck accident claim.

Contact a Truck Accident lawyer

One of the most important things to do after a truck accident is to contact a truck accident lawyer. At The Embry Law Firm, our truck accident lawyer helps clients understand their rights after an accident. We can help you explore possible options for compensation, including helping you negotiate with your insurance company or helping you file a personal injury lawsuit.

To find out more about our truck accident services, call us, or fill out our online form.