Cornering a big rig presents potential problems and safety issues for the professional truck driver and the driving public.
Cornering is just a fact of life if you are a truck driver. It’s a common maneuver which every professional driver needs to master.
Sometimes it’s necessary to corner on a ramp or a tight turn in the city. No matter what, if you drive professionally for a living, you’ll spend a great deal of your time cornering.
Remember that the chance of having an accident and loosing control is very high when negotiating a corner.
Cornering – A Common Cause of Truck Accidents
Many truck accidents occur as a result of the driver cornering the vehicle too quickly. If the driver takes a corner while moving too fast, the weight of the truck, trailer and load can shift. The weight of the load and the momentum will pull the truck over and flip it on it’s side, often resulting in forcing the load through the roof of the trailer.
The momentum continues forward even though the truck is trying to turn and change direction. The weight transfers on to some of the tires and the weight distributes from one side of the truck to the other.
This is especially a problem on an icy or slippery surface. The slippery surface compounds the problem.
The truck driver can be seriously hurt or killed in such a situation.
Related > 7 Sure Fire Ways to Avoid Accidents
How to Corner a Big Rig
- The way to best take a corner is to GREATLY reduce your speed, prior to entering a cornering situation. The vehicle must be slowed down while it is straight. Then, proceed into the corner carefully and slowly, rather than attempting to decelerate as the vehicle is going around the corner.
This process will often cause the traffic behind the vehicle to slow down, but that’s to be expected. It’s necessary in order to do this maneuver safely.
Big rigs are not NASCAR vehicles. They need to slow down before maneuvering in a corner. Safety minded truck drivers do not drive like they are on a NASCAR track.
Cornering a Big Rig on the Highway
If you’re on the highway and suddenly realize your turn off is coming up sooner than expected, do not swing to catch the exit. Slow the vehicle down and prepare to take the next exit ramp. Then, double back to your desired destination.
Last moment turns are very, very dangerous. The weight shifts due to the momentum of the truck.
Cornering a Big Rig in the City
The same rule applies in city streets. If you have missed your turn, proceed to the next available intersection. Then slowly and carefully make the turn. Then continue on to your desired location.
In city traffic, there’s also the added danger of a four wheeler sneaking up into the space beside your truck on the right side, especially if you’re paying too much attention to slowing the truck down. If you’ve left enough space, there’s always the possibility of a car sneaking into the inner lane. BELIEVE ME I KNOW!!! I’ve experienced this multiple times!
Related > Right Turn Accidents – Who’s At Fault?
Bottom line, the number one tip I can give you when driving your rig around any corner, is to go slowly into that corner. ALWAYS.
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