A right-turn squeeze crash can occur when a truck driver makes a wide right turn and leaves too much space between the truck and the curb. A vehicle behind may mistake this maneuver as the truck simply changing lanes or as soon as the right lane opens up the driver ignores the truck’s turn signal and accelerates alongside the truck. Either way, as soon as the truck makes its right-hand turn, the other vehicle gets caught under the trailer or impacts the side of the truck. This type of run under crash can be prevented if truck drivers are able to recognize the hazards that increase the likelihood of a crash and take defensive measures to prevent a loss. 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 crash.

Recognize the Hazards

Environment/Equipment

  • Inoperable turn signal
  • Lack of fender-mounted mirrors
  • Dirty, obstructed mirrors
  • Impatient vehicles behind the truck
  • Unfamiliar route
  • Traffic congestion
  • Narrow intersections

Personal Behaviors

  • Bad technique
    – Failing to use the right turn signal
    – Entering a right turn with the right rear of the trailer too far from the curb
    – Swinging the truck out of the far right lane during the right turn and opening up the right lane to vehicles behind the truck
  • Improper space management
    – Failing to use mirrors/passenger door window to monitor other vehicles and pedestrians
  • Aggressive driving
    – Entering the turn too fast
  • Distractions
  • Poor route planning

Know the Defense

Plan Ahead

  • Plan your route and turns in advance
  • Conduct a pre-trip vehicle inspection to ensure lights and signals are working properly

Proper Turning

  • Maneuver the truck into the far right lane
  • Activate right turn signal well in advance of the turn to alert other drivers of your intention
  • At the intersection, ensure there is ample space to complete the right-hand turn
  • Keep the rear of the trailer in the far right lane with the rear tandems close to the curb
    – This prevents vehicles behind your truck from seeing an open lane ahead and pulling up into your right side blind spots
  • Stay in the far right lane and do not cross lane dividers to avoid a head-on collision with oncoming traffic
  • Never back up to complete a turn
    – If the turn cannot be made due to a lack of space, wait and allow other vehicles to move so you can complete the turn

Source: Great West Casualty Company

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