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Turning Truck Accidents in Portland

Turning in a truck is more complex than turning in a car. This is so for many reasons. For example, turning a truck takes longer than turning a car. Also, truck drivers are not able to visualize the space around them as well as those driving a car.

As a result, turning truck accidents in Portland can cause devastating harm to those around the semi-truck. Call our firm to speak with a seasoned attorney about filing a claim for damages.

Left Turns

Left turn trucking crashes are tragically common. According to one study, more than 60 percent of preventable truck accidents that take place while turning or crossing an intersection result from left turns. This is why UPS drivers truck drivers are trained to almost never take left turns.

The Maine Commercial Driver’s License Manual, which contains the “rules of the road” for Maine truck drivers, has a section on left-hand turns. The section lays out several critical rules that truck drivers must follow, including:

  1. If there are multiple turning lanes, always turn from the right lane. A truck driver may have to swing right during a left-handed turn, which means it is safer to start from the outside lane.
  2. Make sure you have reached the center of the intersection before you start to turn. When truck drivers start their turn too soon, part of their vehicle can end up in the oncoming lane of traffic.
  3. “Before you start across the road, make sure you can get all the way across before traffic reaches you.”

The third rule listed above is particularly important. Depending on the type of truck, amount of cargo, and size of the truck, it may take up to 15 seconds for a truck to clear oncoming lanes of traffic during a left turn. That means that, in order for a left turn to be safely accomplished by a truck driver, the driver must be able to see a fair distance down the road. Otherwise, the driver cannot know whether the truck will clear oncoming traffic in time.

Right Turns

Right turns in trucks come with their own set of dangers. Crashes related to trucks turning right often involve miscommunication between the trucker and other drivers traveling in the same direction.  When truck drivers are turning right, they need to be sure to keep the rear of the truck to the right, so that other vehicles don’t try to pass them. This can be tricky when a truck must move out of its lane to complete the turn. The CDL Manual states that, when a truck driver needs to move out of their lane to turn right, they should perform a Button Hook turn (turning wide as they complete the turn) rather than a Jug Handle turn (turning wide to the left before making the right turn).


U-turns in a truck are particularly dangerous, because they take so long. U-turns require truck drivers to block multiple lanes of traffic for a significant period of time. Depending on the circumstances, it may be impossible for the truck driver to ensure they can make the turn without obstructing traffic.

When is it safe for a truck driver to make a U-turn? Some would argue that the answer is: never. In fact, many trucking companies have bright-line rules against their drivers making U-turns under any circumstances. Do policies like this help victims in U- trucking cases? Yes and no. Obviously, if a trucking company has a policy prohibiting U-turns, a driver who disobeys such a policy is going to have a difficult time explaining his or her behavior. That being said, from a litigation strategy standpoint, there is also potential upside if the defendant trucking company lacks such a policy. In this circumstance, it may be the trucking company, rather than the driver him or herself, who is responsible for the crash.

Meet with a Portland Attorney After a Turning Truck Accident

Dangerous turns are a common cause of trucking crashes. Contact Gideon Asen for a free consultation. We can help you determine how to best proceed with your potential case after a turning truck accident in Portland.