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What Lanes Are Semi-Trucks Allowed to Use?

As we’ve discussed on this blog before, semi-trucks present a unique danger to other drivers and pedestrians on American roads. The sheer size of a semi-truck means that even the most minor accident could have potentially deadly consequences, usually for the driver or other occupants of a passenger vehicle. Because of the danger that semi-trucks present to other drivers, there are many laws in place which dictate how they must drive, how they should be loaded, and how often they must be maintained and evaluated. In many states, semi-trucks and other large vehicles are prohibited from driving in the left lane of any two-lane highway or road.

What Makes Semi-Trucks So Dangerous?

The simple answer is to say that it’s purely the size of semi-trucks that makes them so dangerous. It’s true that even minor collisions with a semi-truck can be devastating for the other vehicle. Unfortunately, collisions aren’t the only danger with large trucks. Another common hazard that other drivers should be are of is tire blowouts. If a semi-truck isn’t properly loaded or if the tires aren’t properly maintained, they can blow out and send pieces flying into traffic. On top of that, tire blowouts can cause trucks to lose control and crash into other vehicles. When trucks aren’t loaded properly, even if there isn’t a blowout, trucks drivers can easily lose control. It’s for these reasons that laws regulating semi-trucks are so important.

Why Do Semi-Trucks Have to Stay on the Right?

Different states, cities, and counties have different laws dictating where semi-trucks can and can’t drive on the roads. In Oregon, semi-trucks, campers, and other large vehicles must stay in the right lane of all roadways having two or more lanes. The only exceptions to this rule are when a truck is passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction, when preparing to turn left, when reasonably necessary in response to emergency conditions, to avoid cars or other vehicles merging into the right lane, and when it’s necessary to follow traffic control devices. Failure to comply with this law is a Class B traffic violation.

One of the reasons it’s important for semi-trucks to stay on the right side of the road is that to minimize the risk of semi-truck accidents, trucks are advised to drive more slowly than other cars on highways. When trucks are spread out across all the lanes of the highway, traffic can slow down considerably. This has the unfortunate effect of being inconvenient and likely to cause drivers of trucks and passenger vehicles to drive more aggressively. Restricting semi-trucks and other large vehicles to a couple of lanes also enable drivers to keep a safe distance. It’s important when sharing the road with a large truck to drive carefully around them, avoid their blind spots, keep a safe distance behind them, and not stay next to them for too long.

Drive Safely Around Trucks

If you’re driving and see a semi-truck or other large truck disregarding the laws designed to keep everyone safe on the roads, it’s best to avoid them. There are a lot of reasons why a truck might be outside of the designated lanes, but in the even that those reasons are incompetence or inexperience, you’re better off taking every precaution.

Contact a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a semi-truck, don’t hesitate. Contact an experienced semi-truck accident attorney at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield right away. With over 70 collective years of legal and trial experience, we can answer any questions you may have during a free consultation.