Truck drivers who manage large tractor-trailers need to constantly keep the size of these vehicles in mind when executing turns. Any driver who has driven behind a tractor-trailer has probably noticed signs warning of “wide right turns.” Large trucks need to make room to allow their trailers to complete turns without striking guardrails, street signs, or anything else on or near the curb or sidewalk at the turn.
If a driver fails to make enough room for the trailer to clear the corner, anything or anyone near the corner could suffer severe damage or injuries, including drivers who try to move to the truck’s right. Unfortunately, some drivers will notice a truck driver pulling out of the turning lane to make room for the turn and believe the truck driver is simply changing lanes. Other drivers may not notice the truck’s turn signal or simply attempt to pass on the right. When smaller cars slip between a large truck and the curb, the resulting damage can be devastating.
If you were recently involved in a squeeze accident, speak to a Houston truck accident lawyer now.
How to Avoid Squeeze Accidents
All drivers can help avoid squeeze accidents from trucks turning right in several ways. Truck drivers must always engage turn signals before executing turns and ensure their trailers have appropriate markings. Large trailers generally require several warning signs, and specialized trailers may need more specific warnings. Truck drivers should ensure they have enough room to make right turns, and this may require maneuvering to the left to make space. Drivers should make sure they do not encroach on other lanes of traffic and complete their turns as safely as possible.
Other drivers can also prevent squeeze accidents by exercising extra care around large tractor-trailers. While driving near tractor-trailers in the right lane or turning lane, never assume that a truck driver is changing lanes to the left. Most truck drivers know not to execute lane changes in the middle of intersections, so a truck moving left in the right turn lane is likely making room for the trailer. Never attempt to pass a truck in the right turn lane as this will likely lead to a squeeze accident.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
After any type of truck accident, your first priority should be your personal wellbeing. If you have difficulty moving due to your injuries, wait for paramedics to arrive. If you sustained injuries but feel well enough to move around, check the others involved in the accident and call the police to report the crash if no one else already has. If possible, take photos of the accident scene including the damage to your vehicle and the others involved, your injuries, and the scene on the street. These photos could be crucial evidence in a later lawsuit.
Once you have addressed your medical issues and talked to the police about the accident they will allow you to leave and they will file a report for the crash. You should secure a copy of this police report as soon as you can, as it will contain the officers’ initial findings from the scene. After securing a medical report from your doctor and a copy of the police report, a personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Depending on how your squeeze accident happened, one or more parties may face liability for the resulting damages. If the truck driver failed to properly execute the turn, did not make enough room to clear the corner, or did not engage his turn signal, then it’s likely the driver or the driver’s employer will absorb the lion’s share of the liability for the accident. If a driver attempts to illegally pass a driver through the turn lane or does not realize that the truck driver is turning, it’s possible for the driver to face some measure of liability as well. Texas follows a comparative negligence law, so it’s crucial for injured drivers to consult experienced attorneys to determine their best options for recovery after squeeze accidents.