Most people don’t realize how much extra room trucks need to maneuver safely on the road, particularly when turning at an intersection or into a driveway. For example, when preparing to turn right, a truck driver needs to first swing wide to the left, and sometimes even briefly move into the left lane, away from the curb to get their trailer around the corner safely without driving over the curb or the sidewalk. This is because during a turn, the rear wheels of the truck follow a shorter path than the front wheels, so the rear of the trailer cuts much closer to the curb. When a truck driver moves over to the left before a right-hand turn, it may be tempting to squeeze past on the right between the truck and the curb. But you should NEVER put yourself in this situation or you could get crushed by the trailer. Remember, attempting to pass on the right will also put your vehicle in the truck’s passenger side blind spot and the truck driver will have no idea that your car is there.
The first clip provides an example of improper road sharing behavior in a right-hand turn scenario. In the forward roadway view, you’ll notice that the truck driver moves into the left hand lane as he approaches the intersection to make a right-hand turn. A dark grey minivan approaches from behind the truck into the right no-zone and squeezes past just as the truck driver is starting to make the right-hand turn. Luckily, the minivan driver makes it through without incident. But if you keep watching the passenger’s side blind spot view you’ll see how far the rear of the trailer cuts over into that right-hand lane. Had the minivan not made it past the turning truck and been in that lane during the turn, it would have been crushed by the rear of the truck trailer.
RULE OF THUMB: AVOID PASSING TRUCKS WHILE THEY ARE TURNING AND NEVER ATTEMPT TO CUT IN ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE OF A TURNING TRUCK. WAIT TO ASSESS THE TRUCK DRIVER’S INTENT BEFORE PASSING. REMEMBER, TRUCKS DON’T OPERATE LIKE REGULAR VEHICLES AND NEED MORE ROOM TO MANEUVER SAFELY ON THE ROAD SO PLEASE BE PATIENT AND GIVE THEM THE TIME AND SPACE THEY NEED.
The second clip provides an example of a situation where a driver successfully avoids a right-hand squeeze scenario. The forward roadway view shows that, as the truck driver approaches a driveway to turn, he moves over into the left hand adjacent lane. This is also called “swinging wide”. A car approaches from behind in the passenger’s side blind spot and starts to move up next to the truck in the right-hand lane with the intent to pass. The truck driver gets to a point in the turn where he can see the approaching car and pauses to make sure the car is going to stop. Realizing his mistake, the car driver stops and waits for the truck to make the turn and successfully avoids a collision.