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How can a wide-turn trucking accident escalate into a pileup?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Uncategorized

Trucks are vital to the economy, transporting goods across vast distances. However, their size and weight also pose a significant risk on the road. Wide-turn accidents, which happen when a truck needs to swing wide to make a turn, are common and can result in devastating consequences.

In the worst-case scenario, a seemingly minor incident can snowball into a multi-vehicle pileup, causing injuries, fatalities and extensive traffic disruptions. How can a wide-turn trucking accident unfold into a pileup situation?

Limited visibility

Several factors contribute to a wide-turn accident escalating into a pileup. The first is the drivers’ limited visibility. Trucks often have large blind spots on the sides and rear. When a truck driver initiates a wide turn, they might not see oncoming traffic or vehicles in adjacent lanes. This limited visibility can lead to miscalculations and collisions.

Misjudged distances

Additionally, a wide-turn accident can happen when a truck driver misjudges distances. Trucks require more space to turn due to their size and trailer length. Unfortunately, drivers may misjudge the distance needed to complete the turn safely, causing them to encroach on other lanes. This can startle nearby drivers and trigger a chain reaction of swerving and braking maneuvers.


Tailgating is a major contributor to pileups. When drivers don’t leave enough space between their vehicles and the one in front, they have less time to react if the truck makes an unexpected maneuver. A sudden stop by the truck to avoid a collision can lead to a rear-end crash with the following car, and the impact can continue down the line.


Jackknifing occurs when the trailer of a truck swings outwards at a sharp angle due to sudden braking or sharp turns. Jackknifing trucks can block multiple lanes entirely, leaving oncoming traffic with nowhere to go.

Panic from onlooking drivers

When drivers witness a wide-turn accident or see a truck encroaching on their lane, panic can set in. They might swerve erratically, slam on their brakes or try to change lanes abruptly. These sudden maneuvers can further complicate the situation and lead to additional collisions.

By understanding the causes of wide-turn pileups and practicing responsible driving habits, all road users can contribute to a safer environment for everyone. However, it’s also important to remember that drivers may be eligible for compensation if they are involved in a trucking accident due to a truck driver’s recklessness.