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Have you been injured in a car accident in South Carolina caused by a driver who made an illegal wide turn? Improper turns are some of the most common causes of traffic collisions. An accident involving an illegal wide-turn can have serious consequences. You might be left with painful injuries, time away from work, and financial strain.

If someone else was to blame for the accident that injured you, then he or she may be financially responsible for your medical expenses and other accident losses. Our dedicated South Carolina car accident attorneys of Joye Law Firm can evaluate the details of your accident and discuss your legal options during a free consultation. Call us today at (888) 324-3100 or contact us online to learn more about your legal options in a free case review.

What Is a Wide Turn?

Drivers in South Carolina are expected to remain entirely within their lane while turning. An illegal wide turn involves a driver veering out of their designated lane. When drivers swing too wide during a turn, they can cross into an adjacent lane and cause serious accidents, especially if large vehicles such as tractor trailers are involved.

Common reasons for wide turns include:

  • Lack of familiarity with vehicle dimensions – A driver who is inexperienced in handling a particular vehicle may have difficulty gauging the vehicle’s turning radius or visualizing the exterior dimensions while driving.
  • Beginning to turn the steering wheel too late – Drivers who are inattentive, or inexperienced may not start turning soon enough, causing them to leave their lane and make an illegal wide turn.
  • Understeering and oversteering – A driver who lacks experience or focus might not turn their steering wheel enough or may turn the wheel too far while navigating through a turn.

South Carolina Law on Wide Right Turns

South Carolina law lays out specific rules about making turns while in traffic.

Unless official traffic control devices instruct otherwise, § 56-5-2120 of the South Carolina Code of Laws requires that drivers who intend to make certain turns follow safety guidelines:

  • Right-hand turns – Remain as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway during both the approach and execution of a right-hand turn.
  • Left-hand turns – Take the left-most lane lawfully available to traffic during the approach for a left-hand turn. Whenever practicable, stay to the left of the center of an intersection while making left-hand turns to leave space for others.
  • Two-way left turns – When a left-hand turning lane has been designated for drivers proceeding in opposite directions, drivers may not turn left from any other lane and may not enter the left-turn lane unless preparing to make a U-turn or left-hand turn.

Drivers must remain within a single marked lane while driving, including while turning. Under § 56-5-1900, drivers may only move out of designated lanes once they make sure they can move safely into an adjacent lane.

Why Do Large Trucks Need to Make Wide Right Turns?

Commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers are much longer than automobiles and have wider turning radiuses. Truckers must proceed further into an intersection before turning to give the trailer adequate room to clear the curb. They must swing wide to make a 90-degree right turn.

Large trucks make wide right turns due to:

  • Trailers – Large trucks hauling trailers must course-correct during a turn. Trailers do not follow exactly the same path as the cab. Truck drivers make wide turns to avoid hitting curbs or other vehicles waiting at an intersection.
  • Relatively poor visibility – When trucks turn right, their right-hand mirrors are obstructed, which blocks large areas from view. Truck drivers cannot see vehicles in the truck’s blind spots. The same happens for left-hand turns, but drivers have better visibility when turning left because they are sitting on that side of the cab.
  • High center of gravity – Commercial trucks have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles. Trucks must take wider turns because making a sharp turn or hitting a curb could result in a rollover accident.

Breaking this Law Endangers Others

Making wide turns that straddle lanes affects traffic flow and can lead to hazardous situations and needless crashes.

Other drivers may not see a turning car in time to adjust their speed. They might be unable to make room for a vehicle abruptly entering their lane. A driver who must swerve to avoid a turning car may collide with other vehicles nearby.

If you see someone making a careless turn, remain on guard and drive defensively to avoid an accident.

South Carolina Penalties and Fines for Making Wide Right Turns

A driver may face penalties if pulled over for making an illegal wide turn in South Carolina. The penalties may include a fine of up to $237 and four demerit points against the driver’s license.

Any demerit points will stay on your driving record for some time. One year after the violation date, the value of any points on your record is reduced by half. If you have a learner’s permit, a provisional license, or a special restricted license and accumulate six or more demerit points at any time, your driving privileges will be suspended for six months.

How to Determine Fault in a Wide Right Turn Accident

When motorists make illegal wide turns, they can cause serious accidents. Vehicles in wide-turn accidents may be sideswiped, wedged between other cars, or even caught in the space between the road and the bottom of a truck’s trailer.

Determining who is at fault after a wide-turn accident is essential to any injury claim. Any driver who moved out of their designated lane while executing a turn could be liable for a resulting accident.

Common causes of wide-turn accidents in South Carolina include:

  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Failure to monitor blind spots
  • Failure to signal before turning
  • Moving in reverse to complete a turn
  • Entering a turning lane too rapidly
  • Attempting a turn while too far from the curb
  • Trying to pass others while turning

Injured by a Negligent Car or Truck Driver? We Can Help

Automobile crashes can occur for many reasons. Sometimes a driver is negligent and takes risks that put multiple lives in danger. Our South Carolina car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm understand how an automobile collision can harm you physically, emotionally, and financially. We are ready to help you understand your legal options and fight for your rights if you or someone you love has been injured in a South Carolina, illegal wide turn accident.

Please contact us for a free consultation at (888) 324-3100 or fill out our convenient online form today.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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