How to Turn a Tractor Trailerby Cody Sorensen
Turning a tractor trailer requires a high level of awareness and concern for safety. Tractor trailers average between 50 and 100 feet in length. Knowing how to turn one of these vehicles safely around a corner is mandatory before driving through traffic. Left turns have fewer blind spots than right turns because the driver is turning toward the driver's side of the vehicle, but right turns aren't as easy because the driver is turning toward the passenger's side of the vehicle with an increased blind spot. When turning left, the driver can use the driver's-side mirror and also put his head out the window to look, but when turning right, the driver can only use the passenger-side mirror to see when turning.
Turn on your right turn signal 300 feet before the turn.
Look in your driver's-side mirror to see if any vehicles are to the left of your vehicle. Wait for these vehicles to pass. Stay in the right lane until 100 feet before the turn. Slow the vehicle to 5 to 10 miles per hour by pushing the brakes and shifting down to a lower gear.
Check the driver's-side mirror again for traffic and then turn the steering wheel to the left and cross over into the left lane. Drive straight into the intersection, and once the rear wheels of the tractor have entered the intersection, turn the steering wheel to the right. Look into the passenger-side mirror and watch the trailer tires to ensure that they clear the curb. Look back toward the left front-side of the tractor to ensure it is going to clear any vehicles or barriers in its path. If there isn't enough clearance, then bring the tractor trailer to a full stop. Turn on your emergency flashers. Slowly back up the tractor, keeping an eye on traffic behind and to the side of your vehicle using your mirrors. Back up until you can go forward again without hitting anything.
Turn on your left turn signal 300 feet before reaching the turn.
Look into the passenger-side mirror for vehicles. Look in your driver's-side mirror for vehicles that might be in your way. Wait for these vehicles to pass. Get in the left-turn lane if applicable. Slow the vehicle to 10 to 15 miles per hour by pressing your brakes and shifting down into a lower gear.
Drive the entire tractor and trailer into the intersection, and once the rear tires of the trailer have entered the intersection, turn the steering wheel to the left. Check your passenger-side mirror for vehicles to ensure that there are none alongside you. Drift into the right lane while you turn right and then look into the driver's-side mirror to ensure that your trailer clears any barriers or vehicles in its path. Stop the vehicle if the trailer isn't going to clear. Turn on your emergency flashers and back up the rig until you can go forward again without hitting anything with your trailer.
Items you will need
- photo_camera line of trucks 1 image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com