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Should trucks turn across oncoming traffic?

When a semi has to make a left turn, there’s the potential for disaster.

Maybe you’re in the left-hand turn lane on the road the semi is trying to turn onto. You may have to back up if they don’t have enough space to complete the turn without hitting your car. If there is nowhere to go, now you either have a crash with the trailer as it swings through your lane, crushing itself into your window, or you have an accident as you back into the car behind you.

Or, maybe you’re going down the road toward the truck. The driver may turn without enough space, blocking the entire road — and then some — and making it impossible for you to avoid an accident. They may even make that turn far more slowly than you thought they would, as they try to be cautious, and you could get hit from behind as you slow down.

The risk

These are just two examples, but they make it clear that left-hand turns are very dangerous, especially for oversized commercial vehicles. In fact, did you know that UPS found them so risky — and such a waste of time — that they basically told all of their drivers never to do it?

That’s right. The UPS truck will turn right multiple times to come around the block without turning left. They seek out these routes.

Some have argued that everyone should do this. Crossing in front of oncoming traffic is one of the single most dangerous things you can do in a car. You have to do it every time you turn left. If you avoided it, you could drastically reduce the odds of an accident.

Commercial pressure

That said, many semitruck drivers still turn left, causing the issues noted above. UPS is just one company; most do not enforce a no-left rule. There is a lot of pressure on commercial drivers to make deliveries quickly and meet deadlines.

Does that pressure lead to unsafe driving? It can. Making lefts is just one example of it. Drivers may also break the speed limit or run red lights. They may drive aggressively and look for shortcuts where their trucks don’t even fit. The pressure to work quickly can prove very dangerous for the rest of the drivers on the road at the same time as the truck.

Your options after an accident

If you get hit by a semi or a commercial vehicle, whether it is turning left or not, you could suffer serious injuries. Make sure you know what options you have after the wreck.