Professional drivers make hundreds of safe right turns every month. However, right turn accidents do occur frequently when drivers let their guard down and do not follow safe right turn procedures. Common right turn collisions include:
- Sideswiping a vehicle while swinging wide to negotiate a tight turn.
- Head-on collisions with oncoming traffic while swinging wide.
- Collisions with parked cars, fixed objects or pedestrians when cutting the corner too tightly.
- Right turn squeezes – colliding with a car that tries to sneak by on the right when swinging wide.
The best practices for making a right turn safely are the following:
Get in the far right lane in advance of the turn.
- Activate your turn signal.
- Check behind you. You need to track vehicles behind and to the side of you in case they try to pass during your turn.
- Slow down to the appropriate speed and use the proper gear. Stop if traffic controls or signs require you to do so.
- Scan for and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Yield to oncoming and cross traffic. If you cannot make the turn without others having to slow or change lanes, wait for a larger opening between traffic. Remember, it can take 15 seconds or longer to move through an intersection from a stop.
- Keep the rear of your trailer close enough to the right curb or parked vehicles to prevent another vehicle from passing you on your right side.
- Make your turn without crossing the centerline of the street you are leaving and, if possible, not into the opposing traffic lanes of the road you are entering.
- If you must leave your lane of traffic to negotiate the turn, it is generally better to stay in the lane you are coming from and swing wide into the lane you are turning into. Do not turn into the lane until opposing traffic has passed.
- If you get “caught” while swinging into the lane being turned into, yield and let the opposing traffic pass around you. Backing during a turn is very dangerous as it is difficult to see vehicles behind you, and they are expecting you to go forward, not backward.
- During the turn keep monitoring your mirrors, looking for vehicles that may try to pass on either side.
Professional drivers should use caution and follow best practices when making right turns to ensure they are made safely.