Right turns can be problematic for drivers of large commercial motor vehicles. Commercial drivers sometimes swing wide to the left before turning right. However, motorists following behind may mistakenly see this as a lane change or left turn, try to pass on the right, and find themselves “squeezed” between the curb and the commercial vehicle as it begins to turn.
In order to defend against this right turn “squeeze,” consider the following:
• Use your turn signal. Give others sufficient time to react.
• Scan the intersection as you approach. Pay particular attention to motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, parked vehicles, poles and other stationary objects. If you can’t clear the corner using the available space, select an alternate route.
• Check your mirrors. Know what traffic is behind you.
• Slow down and get in position. Shift into the proper gear and position your vehicle as far left in your own lane as possible before entering the turn. Stop if traffic controls require you to do so.
• Be patient. If you cannot make the turn without forcing other vehicles to slow or change lanes, wait for the signal to change or a larger gap in traffic.
• Take another look before turning. Traffic conditions can change rapidly and pedestrians can easily be hidden from view. If necessary, rock back and forth in your seat to see around vehicle components that may obstruct your view.
• Check your mirrors frequently into and during the turn. Know your vehicle’s blind spots and be mindful of vehicles attempting to pass on your right. Wide shoulders, bicycle and parking lanes may provide an opportunity for other vehicles to “sneak in.” Also, the size and maneuverability of motorcycles and bicycles means riders can encroach in the space between your vehicle and the curb suddenly…stay alert.
• Avoid swinging wide to the left before turning right. Keep the rear of your vehicle close to the curb or parked vehicles to help prevent others from passing on the right. If you must leave your lane to make the turn, it’s generally better to stay in the lane you are leaving and swing wide into the lane you are turning into. Do not turn into the lane until oncoming traffic has passed. Donot back up once you have started your turn. Also, be careful that off-tracking does not cause your vehicle to ride up onto curb or strike any fixed objects.
• Complete the turn. Turn hard to the right and accelerate slightly to straighten out, finishing the turn in the right lane.
By using good judgment and remaining alert, you can help prevent the right turn squeeze accident and make turns the right way each and every time.