Murphy Legal Blog


Refuel: Left Turns

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Left turns are an important skill for professional drivers that must be studied, practiced, and mastered. When it comes to driving a 73’ long (or longer) rig, space and timing are always factors to consider when maneuvering.

Studies from the Federal Highway Administration show that more than 50% of combined fatal and injury accidents happen at or near intersections. More than 48,000 of those involve drivers turning left.

When it comes to left turns, remember the 5 S’s:

Set-up: Make sure you are in the proper lane to begin the turn.

Signal: Use your signal at least 100 feet before the turn.

Slow down: Slow down to 10-15 mph (10 mph if your container is top-heavy).

Survey: On average it takes 16 seconds to make a left turn. Add another 10 second to get your rig up to 35 mph after completing the turn. It’s important to gauge the approximate speed of oncoming traffic as well as the space required vs available for your rig to safely complete the turn.

Steer: When turning from a single lane into a double lane, it’s best to steer into the slower right lane, keeping close to the right edge of the new road. Turning at a gentler angle allows for more space to get ‘straight’ and keep tandems in alignment. Steering into the left lane is recommended only if you will be making another immediate left turn.

Some additional tips to keep in mind are:

  • Keep the right side of your tractor close to the outside edge of the lane you are turning into. Be aware of objects and or pedestrians on or near the curb.
  • Focus on both the road ahead of you and your left mirror.
  • Turn off your turn signal only after both your cab and trailer are straight in the lane you have turned into.

Even safe and experienced drivers can still have accidents. If you or your company are facing a legal claim due to a trucking accident, Murphy Legal is ready to defend you. To learn more about our passion for the trucking industry, call us at 979-690-0800 or visit us on the web at Murphy Legal.

If you need assistance in an emergency, call our 24-Hour Emergency Hotline at 979-209-2173. We’re here to help.

Be sure to check our Refuel blog series for additional resources and information about rig and driver safety.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter covering a wide variety of topics to help protect owner-operators and trucking companies from liability in the event of an accident.