Wide-Turn Truck Accidents Are Particularly Dangerous Due to the Size and Weight of Trucks Making Wide Turns at Intersections or Entrances.

How Truck Features Create Wide Turn Accident Risks in New Jersey

As businesses expand their delivery operations across the U.S., more trucks are hitting the roads, leading to a surge in accidents.  In 2022 alone, there were a staggering 116,353 semi-truck accidents. Over 30% of all truck drivers will experience at least one accident during their career, with approximately 3% resulting in a fatality. This means that every year, 3,500 lives are lost, leaving behind grieving families.

 Contrary to popular belief, truck accidents are not confined to highways. In New Jersey alone, 1,422 accidents involving semi-trucks were reported, with a shocking 50% of motorists involved experiencing some form of injury: 685 injuries and 25 fatalities. These accidents are not limited to highways; they also occur on state and municipal roads, away from the freeways. A common and often overlooked scenario for truck accidents is when a semi-truck attempts a wide turn at an intersection or the entrance to a business. Trucks need a larger turning radius than other vehicles, use more than one lane, and can sometimes cause an accident.

Ways a Wide-Turn Truck Accident can Occur

Most local streets aren’t wide enough to accommodate a semi-truck’s turning radius. When they turn, the cab’s wheels travel on a different trajectory than those in the back, causing a “tail swing.”  In order to complete the turn, the driver has to take up two lanes, which can lead to an accident.  If the driver goes too fast or turns sharply, it creates a hazard for motorists.

To make a right turn, the truck must go into the lefthand lane to create a wide enough berth to make the turn successfully.  Fewer accidents involve right turns because the drivers behind the truck can usually see what is happening and give the truck the necessary room.

Left turns are more prone to provoke an accident because the truck is turning into oncoming lanes of traffic.  These accidents are so prevalent that shipping companies create routes through GPS technology that avoid entirely left turns.  Truck drivers making left-hand turns can miscalculate the speed of oncoming motorists or try to make the turn too quickly, resulting in a jackknife or the trailer tipping over.

Different Forms of Wide-Turn Truck Collisions

Truck accidents come in various forms, but their potential for severe damage and injury is undeniable due to their sheer size and weight.  When turning, a rear-end collision can occur if the driver miscalculates the distance between the cab and the car in the lane before them.  When a truck takes a turn too sharply and quickly, it can cause an uneven amount of weight on the tires, leading to a rollover.  A falling rig can damage several vehicles in one fell swoop. 

Head-on collisions occur when a truck invades a second lane to make a wide turn without checking for oncoming traffic.  This type of accident can produce fatalities, even at speeds as low as 35mph.  When the driver turns sharply or brakes abruptly, it may cause a jackknife, which is when the cab and the trailer are at a 90-degree angle, unable to move without the assistance of a tow truck. 

If a commercial truck turns and does not see the cars on either side, an accident can occur during a wide turn. T-bone accidents occur most frequently when a semi-truck turns left across oncoming traffic, which leads another vehicle to collide at a 90-degree angle with the trailer section of the truck.  Lastly, sideswipe accidents occur when a truck moves from one lane to another in preparation for a turn and gets too close to the side of a vehicle beside it.

What Kinds of Injuries Happen in Wide-Turn Truck Crashes?

An accident involving a passenger in a semi-truck can have catastrophic results. Factors affecting the severity of the injuries incurred include the size of the vehicle, the type of accident, and the speed at which the vehicles were moving. Back and neck injuries are prevalent in these types of crashes.  Whiplash, cervical fractures, herniated or ruptured discs, spinal fractures, and spinal cord damage can cause loss of limb function, partial paralysis, and complete paralysis. 

Broken bones are serious, too.  A fractured rib can perforate the lungs and cause a bilateral pneumothorax (collapsed lungs); crushed hands or feet may require several surgeries or amputation.  Exposed fractures can become infected with sepsis, a life-threatening condition. A TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury can cause memory loss, cognitive damage, amnesia, loss of balance and speech, loss of mobility, brain bleeds, and other tragic results, including death. 

Common internal injuries in this type of accident include a lacerated liver, ruptured spleen, and crushed kidneys.  Deep lacerations of the extremities or torso can cause life-threatening hemorrhages.

A Guide to Staying Visible Around Large Trucks

Don’t assume the truck driver can see you.  Their blind spots are much larger than those of a passenger car, so signal properly and ensure you can see the driver’s reflection in the truck’s side mirror if you pass.  Always pay attention to the truck’s turn signals, especially when it begins to turn.  Give the truck plenty of room.  Remember, if you are too close, you may be in the blind spot.  If a truck is attempting a left turn and you are in oncoming traffic, yield and let them pass. Most importantly, be patient.  If you have an accident, it will take you much longer to get where you want to go, and it could even cost you your life.

Preventing Wide-Turn Truck Accidents Through Proper Maintenance and Training

Most wide-turn truck accidents in which the semi-truck is at fault have several avoidable causes. A distracted driver who is fatigued, driving under the influence, eating, watching a video to escape boredom, or using a cell phone while driving is dangerous to motorists.  Failure to obey traffic laws, such as driving at the posted speed limit, not changing lanes often, using a turn signal, and keeping a proper distance from other vehicles, can cause an accident.  Faulty equipment, such as weak brake systems, bald tires, and steering issues, can be dangerous on the road.  Wide-turn accidents can occur when a truck is overloaded or the cargo isn’t balanced. 

A trucking company is responsible for keeping its fleet in proper working order and running frequent inspections from stem to stern to ensure safety on the road.  Truckers must be especially vigilant in adverse weather conditions, acknowledging a possible slower reaction time when braking or turning.

Immediate Actions Following a Wide-Turn Accident

Sue for Injuries from a Wide Turn Truck Accident in Hamilton, NJ

Always call for medical help, even if you don’t appear to be hurt.  The adrenaline rushing through your body can immediately mask the pain of injuries you overlook.  Call the police to report the accident.  They will document what happened and make an accident report, which will be helpful to you later.  Document as much as possible by taking photos or having someone take them for you.  Get the driver’s contact information and the company name they drive for.  Ask witnesses for their information as well.  Call your insurance company as soon as possible, but only to notify them of the accident.  Do not go into details as you are shaken and probably not thinking clearly.  Lastly, contact us to begin working on your personal injury case promptly.

Start Your Road To Recovery. Get A Free Consultation With A Princeton Wide-Turn Truck Accident Lawyer Today.

At Cohen & Riechelson, we know how devastating an accident like this can be.  We have successfully recovered damages for hundreds of clients who were in wide-turn truck accidents and other crashes through no fault of their own.  Our personal injury lawyers know it is frightening and traumatic. Our job is to get the compensation you deserve to allow you to heal worry-free in Lawrence, Monroe, Titusville, Hopewell, Ewing, Trenton, and towns in Mercer County, Middlesex County, Somerset County, and throughout New Jersey.

Often, insurance companies are not willing to cover all of your losses. We can negotiate a better settlement for you, and if necessary, we will take your case to court. Our truck accident attorneys are in your corner and want what is best for you.

If you have been in a wide-turn truck accident anywhere in New Jersey, call us today at (609) 528-2596 to talk about getting the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Click on this link to set up a free consultation. Remember, personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations, so time is running out.