Jacksonville has a serious problem with right-turning tractor trailers and large trucks crashing into cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians. These types of collisions occur frequently at busy intersections across the city. In fact, over 100 wide right turn truck accidents happen each year in Jacksonville, according to statistics from the city’s transportation department. These crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries and death.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at why these collisions happen, where they most often occur in Jacksonville, and how drivers and pedestrians can avoid getting hit when a big rig or other large truck makes a wide right turn. Being informed and attentive could save your life.
What Causes Wide Right Turn Truck Crashes
One of the main reasons right turn truck collisions happen is because of the large blind spots around these big vehicles. The blind spots are especially bad on the right side, where the truck driver can’t see vehicles, motorcycles, or people in their side mirrors. Even using all their mirrors, there’s a large area around the truck that is hidden from the driver’s view. This makes it really easy for the driver to crash into something or someone as they swing out wide to the right. Lots of car drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians sadly get caught in the truck’s blind spots and get hit before the driver even knows they are there.
Another issue is the sheer size and momentum of a fully loaded tractor trailer or dump truck. These vehicles can weigh over 80,000 pounds! That makes it really hard for the driver to quickly slow down or stop, even if they realize something is in their path during a turn. Hitting the brakes takes more time and distance than a typical car or pickup truck. This momentum adds to the danger and potential devastation of a right turn truck accident. Even at low speeds, an 80,000 pound truck can easily crush a 3,000 pound compact car and kill the occupants.
Driver distractions also play a role in many truck vs car and truck vs pedestrian crashes in Jacksonville. Truck drivers face the same modern distraction threats as all drivers – talking on cell phones, texting, adjusting the radio or GPS. When a trucker gets distracted approaching a right turn, the results can be tragic. They may fail to check their mirrors and blind spots carefully or misjudge how widely they need to swing out. Taking your eyes off the road for even two seconds in a massive truck can mean running down a car, motorcycle, or pedestrian you never saw.
High-Risk Right Turn Truck Crash Areas in Jacksonville
Some intersections and stretches of road see a lot more right-turning truck accidents than others in Jacksonville. We’ll look at three of the top high-risk areas and why they are prone to these collisions.
The intersection of I-295 and San Jose Blvd on Jacksonville’s south side is a prime spot for right-turn truck wrecks. This exit off I-295 sees a heavy mix of passenger car, commercial truck, and pedestrian traffic all day long. The very wide road and lanes make it tough for everyone to see each other. Trucks exiting the interstate have to slow from highway speeds while navigating a sweeping 90-degree turn. With limited visibility, they can easily miss seeing a car coming up on their right side. This intersection saw 15 right-turn truck crashes between 2018-2020.
Another hot zone for wrecks is Downtown Jacksonville near major intersections like Forsyth and Bay Streets. Downtown has narrower lanes than highways, and trucks must slow down for tight turns at traffic lights. But with buses, delivery vans, bikes, and riders everywhere, the truck’s blind spots and momentum still cause collisions. Pedestrians are especially at risk crossing streets in blind spots. Downtown Jacksonville had over 20 right-turn truck crashes in the last 3 years.
Lem Turner Road from Daisy Plaza down to I-295 on the north side is a third high-risk zone. This stretch contains shops and businesses bringing in lots of truck deliveries off I-295. Lem Turner Road’s wide lanes let vehicles build up speed. But the permitted right turn lanes still create blind spots at intersections. Areas like the Daisy Plaza intersection saw over a dozen right-turn wrecks recently.
How to Avoid Wide Right Turn Truck Collisions
Drivers and pedestrians should take precautions to avoid right-turn truck collisions in Jacksonville’s hot zones. Here are some tips for staying safe when big trucks are making wide right turns near you:
For car and motorcycle drivers:
- Never drive or linger in the right side blind spots of trucks – this area is invisible to the driver.
- Pass trucks on the left side whenever possible, not the right side where their vision is most limited.
- At intersections where trucks make wide right turns, wait to proceed until you can see the truck driver sees you and waves you on. Don’t rely on traffic lights alone.
- Give trucks extra room to swing wide – never try to squeeze by on the right into a tight space.
- Be patient and don’t rush past a truck as it prepares for a turn. The few seconds you’ll save aren’t worth the risk.
- Avoid crossing near an intersection where a truck is preparing to turn right – they may not see you entering their blind spot.
- Make eye contact with truck drivers before crossing in front of them so you know they see you. Don’t just look at traffic lights and assume all is clear.
- Cross at designated pedestrian crosswalks instead of jaywalking – you have the right of way at crosswalks.
- Understand that trucks need lots of room to make wide right turns and plan accordingly.
For truck drivers:
- Always swing as wide as you need to make right turns safely, even if it means encroaching into other lanes – it’s better than hitting someone.
- Drive slowly and be extra cautious making right turns where visibility is limited.
- Use your turn signals early so cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians understand what you’re doing.
- Check all your mirrors and blind spots carefully before starting a right turn. Have a good view of the area you’ll be turning into.
- If ever in doubt, stop and wait until you have a completely clear view before making the turn. Safety first.
By being alert and following these tips. But in case you have a truck accident case where you are not at fault, we can help you. Our car accident attorney in Jacksonville can help you get through the legal channels to get you the right compensation. Further, we as a community have to work together to reduce wide right turn truck crashes that claim too many lives in Jacksonville. No trip or delivery is worth the risk of harming others on the road.