Towing and making right hand turns

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mpolsue1

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Jul 14, 2018
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Spring Branch, TX
We pulled our new trailer home Saturday with no problems on I-20 and through part of town. I have driven buses (military and state vehicles on occasion) and was taught to start the turn when I (looking from the drivers seat) am even with the curb and making a wide turn when possible. I had one instance when I was turning and a car was waiting to get onto the street I was pulling in from. Not a lot of room and I tried that technigue (almost) and made it fine enough. Is there a rule of thumb that I don't know about, but wish I did lol?

Mark & Sandy 
 

Roy M

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southern British Columbia
I turn on the left signal and start a lane change just before reaching the intersection then flip on the right as I start my turn when the truck enters the cross street. This way I avoid running the trailer tires onto the curb and scaring pedestrians.  One thing we have to carefully watch for is cyclists coming up on the passenger side, once the turn is started all that is visible in the mirror is the side of the trailer. I had one moron try to go straight through on my right, almost wore him.
 

HueyPilotVN

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Lake Havasu City, AZ
A little off the subject but when I was pulling my Stacker and was 77 feet long I would always prefer to make 3 left turns instead of one right turn.  During a left turn it is much easier to see the trailer and you have much more room from the left curb.

It is not always possible but when it is it really helps.

That tip is worth just what it cost you.
 

HappyWanderer

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Roy M said:
I turn on the left signal and start a lane change just before reaching the intersection then flip on the right as I start my turn when the truck enters the cross street. This way I avoid running the trailer tires onto the curb and scaring pedestrians.  One thing we have to carefully watch for is cyclists coming up on the passenger side, once the turn is started all that is visible in the mirror is the side of the trailer. I had one moron try to go straight through on my right, almost wore him.

Someone passed you on the right after you signaled a left turn, and you think the near collision wasn't your fault? I would say that the practice of signaling for a left turn, then changing your mind at the last second and turning the opposite direction, is very dangerous and will eventually get you into an accident that you will be charged with.

I've been driving trucks for over 30 years, and sat in classrooms with top-notch driving instructors. I've never heard of anything like that before.

To the OP: you'll need to get farther into the intersection before starting your turn, or you'll run the trailer tires into the curb. The exact distance will vary, based on the length of the truck and trailer. My best advice would be to find a quiet section on road and practice. Watch where the trailer tires track, and find yourself a landmark like you're used to.
 

SeilerBird

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St Cloud Florida USA
Right hand turns are very easy and safe done the right way. I watch my right hand mirror and as soon the rear tire is passed the corner of the curb I make the turn. Once your rear wheel is past the curb there is no way you can hit the curb. You are passed it.
 

Pugapooh

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Montgomery Co,MD
This is one reason for NOT passing on the right.  I always thought it was illegal.  I may go research,I may not.  Just too lazy today.

I think you should just use the right turn signal. A left signal when you actually are turning right would confuse other drivers.  Maybe you can get a "wide turns" sticker for the back of the rv.
 

2PawsRiver

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Jun 1, 2014
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Michigan
It is illegal to pass on the right pretty much everywhere, pretty much all the time, unless there is a lane specifically designated for such.  You can't leave the roadway or cross the white line to pass on the right, though a bicyclist may not have to.  But honestly if somebody signaled left, started left, then suddenly signaled right and made a right hand turn, and hit a cyclist, in my book that driver would be liable...?.I almost think somebody is being a bit funny, or at least I hope so :)
 

Oldgator73

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When I pulled a 5th wheel, 38?, I always put my right turn signal on, stayed in the right lane and entered the intersection. How far I got into the intersection depended on how many lanes I was turning into. If one lane to turn into, not so far. If two a little farther. If conditions allowed I might swing out a bit to make the turn easier. With a longer trailer I never had a problem with anybody trying to pass on the right since the trailer always blocked their path. I kept an eye on the trailer wheels to insure they were not headed for the curb. At the same time you have to keep on eye on the vehicles in the oncoming lane(s) you turning into. There were few instances where folks had stopped well beyond the white line making it impossible for for me to complete the turn unless they backed up.
 

lynnmor

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Oldgator73 said:
There were few instances where folks had stopped well beyond the white line making it impossible for for me to complete the turn unless they backed up.

I don't know where you drive, but here in PA there is an idiot well beyond the stop line nearly 100% of the time.  I have gotten the finger from those folks because they thought I was going to hit them.  Also here in PA the roads are about the same as when William Penn bought the place so you might need any and all lanes at many tight intersections.
 
S

sightseers

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people pass on the right all the time,  It doesn't matter if something is illegal or not.

you better be prepared for illegal drivers ....or be prepared for a lot of collisions.

As an old large vehicle CDL driver in the L.A. metro area,  some of the most law abiding drivers I've ever worked with,  had the most accidents.

One trick I learned is when you absolutely need the cooperation of other drivers is to deliberately drive as if the vehicle has gone  "out of control" .....everyone slams on their brakes!  .... and you make your move. ( Whoops, sorry..  ;) )

(40 years of L.A. driving and only one parking lot damage report on my record.  yes..several tickets from unhappy people working as traffic cops )
 

Rene T

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Farmington NH
Roy M said:
I turn on the left signal and start a lane change just before reaching the intersection then flip on the right as I start my turn when the truck enters the cross street. This way I avoid running the trailer tires onto the curb and scaring pedestrians.  One thing we have to carefully watch for is cyclists coming up on the passenger side, once the turn is started all that is visible in the mirror is the side of the trailer. I had one moron try to go straight through on my right, almost wore him.

Ya,  because he probably saw your left directional on and felt it would be clear to go on your right side. I don't like that way of doing a right hand turn. It may work for you but it wouldn't work for me.
 

SargeW

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Where ever we park it!
I use the same process to make a right turn on a city street and in a campground when driving the RV. With the Jeep hooked up I am close to 60' long. When I approach a right turn I start moving to the left side of the lane. In some cases I will cross into the lane next to me (if it's a multi lane road in my direction). I will be signaling a RIGHT TURN and moving slowly. As I cross into the intersection and keep my steer wheels straight until the last moment before cranking hard right and bringing the front of the rig into my intended direction. 

Yes, if there is a vehicle in the #1 lane stopped going the opposite way, I may cause some pretty wide eyed looks as I come about. This is the same method used by semi truck drivers negotiating tight right turns. This has come through experience in maneuvering this long rig, and knowledge of the rigs 60 degree wheel cut and learning how to use it.  If a worse case scenario were to develop where you couldn't make the turn without crossing into the on coming traffic, or possibly hitting a sign or light pole on your right side because you couldn't/didn't turn out far enough, STOP AND WAIT. I would rather cause a little traffic jam and make a few folks mad as opposed to damaging my rig, or being in an accident. 

NEVER signal a false direction and change mid stream. At the very least that is a cite-able offense, and may be criminal if an accident were to occur. Practice and familiarity is your best friend. And I never roll without my dash cam running in the rig. I know I am a safe driver, but can't predict anyone else's ability.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
When there are two lanes in the direction of travel, it is not illegal to go by someone on the right. That is not considered "passing" when there are multiple lanes.  However, I have to agree that showing a left turn signal but quickly switching back to a right turn is asking for trouble. Whether the person in the other lane is an idiot or was merely faked out by the signals, the chances of an unhappy ending for both of you are too great.

We've towed 5ws and driven long wheelbase motorhomes (with toad) and learned to be ultra-cautious in any right turn situation.  Some of that knowledge was gained the old-fashioned way in the School of Hard Knocks.  My basic technique is the fade to the left as much as practical in the situation, even while signalling right.  It is also crucial to pull as far into the intersection as possible before beginning the turn. My co-pilot helps by watching the mirror on her side cause I also have to keep track of other traffic in front and left.  Sometimes I have to intimidate traffic to get enough room to turn safely,  pushing the nose out  and waiting for others to get out of the way.  Many drivers are courteous about your need for extra maneuvering space, but inevitably a few are not, or are at least reluctant to yield.  I've received some rude gestures and comments in  my time, but I can live with that.  I try not to be arrogant in demanding a right-of-way, though.

Huey Pilot makes an excellent suggestion: avoid right turns in congested areas.  In fact, avoid all congested areas whenever possible.  I find it worthwhile to drive a few extra miles or take the long way around a block to avoid potential damage and the frustration of maneuvering in traffic.  Most cities have truck route bypasses, so use them.  And pay attention if a GPS routes you through a town - it is often avoidable. Most nav programs, even those touted for RVs, don't make routing decisions based on rig length.  You can program to avoid bridges or tolls, but not to avoid right turns or narrow streets.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Most people believe that passing on the right is NOT LEGAL but in many states (if not all) it is legal to pass on the right if some conditions exist.
Example.. One of you mentioned turning on your LEFT signal then moving left and flipping over to right. Well.. when you signal the LEFT as you approach an intersection.. That is one of the conditions that signals "OK TO PASS ON RIGHT". 

You really need to know the turn laws in the state you are in.. Some allow it. Another surprising item is in some states if you are getting ready to turn left you may pull across the center line. provided no oncoming traffic.

Fun reading.. If anyone wants I have a copy of the Michigan Vehicle code on my other computer and can look up a few more.
 

SpencerPJ

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Midwest
Every intersection is different.  For me, if it looks like it will be a tight one, I wiggle my wheel, causing the trailer rear end to wiggle (basically the clue to back off) and proceed slowly ::).  If it's that tight, I have passed the intersection, gone down and turned around.
 
S

sightseers

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John From Detroit said:
You really need to know the turn laws in the state you are in..

What good is it to know a law ?    is your goal not to be liable ?  or not to be in an accident?

I think every state has a basic traffic law that requires you to avoid having an accident.
you can drive up on the sidewalk to avoid hitting a guy laying in the road.  it's not legal for either one of you to be there.
 
S

sightseers

Guest
Bicyclist are some of the worst of right side traffic law offenders,  but they typically feel they are at war for road rights with cars and trucks.

Traffic laws are ambiguous at best for bicyclist. 

A bike rider with a helmet cam and an attorney,    is participating in a very lucrative hobby.
 

cerd

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MN
Pugapooh said:
This is one reason for NOT passing on the right.  I always thought it was illegal.  I may go research,I may not.  Just too lazy today.

I think you should just use the right turn signal. A left signal when you actually are turning right would confuse other drivers.  Maybe you can get a "wide turns" sticker for the back of the rv.

The other day, I stopped on a road in town for a woman to cross the street with her kids. In those 45 seconds, 2 people passed me on the shoulder and almost hit her.

People will be stupid. There is little that you can do about bad drivers besides report them. When I am hauling, I only go slightly into the right turn lane, signal right and make my turn. As far as I am concerned, if they hit me while trying to pass me on the right, I am getting a new camper, courtesy of their insurance/restitution.
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
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...was taught to start the turn when I (looking from the drivers seat) am even with the curb and making a wide turn when possible.

Getting back to the original post, Seilerbird was correct.  A longer vehicle needs to go farther into the intersection before turning right and this means you need to get the rear axle to the corner before starting the right turn.  In order to have the rear-most tire clear the curb that axle needs to pass the corner and be a bit past it.  If you can avoid swinging wide you're better to stay in your own lane so the swing-out doesn't hit something or someone, but that's not always possible.  When I'm in the car and encounter a large vehicle in a right turn lane I try to hang back a bit to provide the large vehicle some extra room to maneuver.  But not everyone understands this if they don't drive a large vehicle themselves.

And, please, everyone - use your turn signal for the direction in which you intend to go because others will be confused and you most likely will cause an accident eventually!  Please do not signal left when you're going right!

ArdraF
 

mpolsue1

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Spring Branch, TX
HappyWanderer said:
To the OP: you'll need to get farther into the intersection before starting your turn, or you'll run the trailer tires into the curb. The exact distance will vary, based on the length of the truck and trailer. My best advice would be to find a quiet section on road and practice. Watch where the trailer tires track, and find yourself a landmark like you're used to.

Thank you for the advice. I think I was either blessed or lucky this weekend on that turn. I will try and discover my own right turn landmark, with practice.

Mark & Sandy
 
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