Cross Traffic Turns can have Deadly Results
In the fall of 2016, a group of 48 people were making their way from Georgia to North Carolina to visit a local casino.
Tragically, their getaway would be ended after the bus they were traveling in collided with a turning semi-truck. The crash resulted in 43 of the passengers sustaining injuries, and the life of the bus driver was cut short.
The crash highlights an important awareness point for anyone driving on the same roads as these big rigs. It’s a safety precaution that we all need to pay attention to when driving.
The Truck Was Making a Left-Hand Turn
As the bus was making its way to the north, the tractor trailer was waiting to turn left, or southbound, onto Georgia Highway 515. Anyone who has encountered a similar situation knows that it can be downright frustrating trying to make this type of turn. You have to wait for traffic in both directions to clear, and then get up to speed quickly so that you don’t impede traffic.
As the driver pulled out to make his turn, traffic continued to come along the southbound lanes. Pausing and waiting for it to clear, his trailer completely blocked the northbound lanes. It was during this time that the tour bus was heading that way.
Before the bus driver had a chance to stop, they collided. The bus rammed into the trailer with so much force that the bus driver was killed and one passenger had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, while 42 others were transported by ground. NBCNews has the full report.
Guidelines for Turns that Cross Traffic
When a truck is ready to turn and cross traffic, studies have shown that the entire process (from when the vehicle starts to move, until it is fully into the lane intends to enter) takes 40 seconds. That time is extended even longer if they must pause part-way through their turn to allow traffic to clear.
Other vehicles traveling at 60mph will travel nearly three quarters of a mile during this same 40 second period.
This means that if the truck is not visible from far enough away, traffic can quickly cover a significant amount of distance and collide with the truck long before the driver has had enough time to clear the semi from the lanes he or she was blocking.
As a passenger vehicle, it’s important to pay attention to what might happen and what obstacles might get in your way down the road. When a big rig is waiting to turn, either into your lane or crossing it, be ready to avoid the situation in case the truck driver doesn’t see you coming.
Informal Regulations for Truck Driving Safety
Because these turns are so dangerous, there are methods put in place that minimize the circumstances.
While there are no legal regulations that don’t allow large vehicle to turn left, there are best practices that have been put into place by trucking companies and those who design distribution routes. Some companies go as far as implementing guidelines that don’t allow their drivers to make these types of turns.
With tight deadlines and long hauls between loads, it’s hard to create a route that is even longer in order to avoid the left hand turn. But in many cases, it’s what needs to be done in order to prevent an unfortunate wreck like what happened in Georgia.
Herbert & Eberstein are Your Texas Truck Accident Attorneys
If you, or a loved one, have been in a collision with a commercial vehicle (including semi trucks, dump trucks, bus, or other large rig) you need an experienced attorney on your side.