Cornering a big rig presents potential problems and safety issues for the 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 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.
A Common Cause of Truck Accidents
Many truck accidents occur from cornering too quickly. If a truck driver takes a corner while moving too fast, the weight of the truck, trailer and load shifts. The weight of the load and the momentum will pull the truck over and flip it on it’s side, with the load blowing through the roof of the trailer. The momentum continues forward even though the truck is trying to turn. 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.
You could be seriously hurt or killed. And it would most certainly be the end of your driving job too.
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How to Corner a Big Rig
The way to best take a corner is to greatly reduce speed, prior to entering a cornering situation. The vehicle must be slowed down while it is straight. Then, proceed into the corner, rather than attempting to decelerate as the vehicle is going around the corner.
This process will often back up traffic, but that’s to be expected. It’s necessary in order to do this safely.
Big rigs are not NASCAR vehicles. They need to slow down before maneuvering in a corner. Good truck drivers do not drive like they are on a NASCAR track.
Truck drivers must proceed carefully and slowly. Be extra careful when negotiating a corner. The potential for an accident is very high.
Cornering a Big Rig – 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 – 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.
Bottom line, go slowly into the corner. Always.
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