Tail Swing Radius

Date: September 3, 2021

Nancy Rigby, BITCO Home Office Technical Specialist, Risk Control

Forestry Good Management Practices

Logging is one of the most hazardous industries, and transporting logs is no exception. Forestry transportation drivers who haul loads where logs extend behind the trailer must protect themselves and others from being struck by logs.


Tail swing radius occurs when the log truck driver turns, and the logs extend beyond the lane of intended travel and into the adjoining lane. A truck's tail swing radius presents a danger to approaching traffic, as well as to those following behind the log truck. Many drivers don't understand the tail swing of a log truck, though everyone must be aware and give them plenty of space.

Good Practices for Other Drivers on the Road

Drivers should be aware of their surroundings, avoid distractions, and neither speed nor tailgate, especially near a log truck. In the early morning, dusk, and dark, these loads are more difficult to see if not impossible by other drivers on the road.

Good Practices for Log Truck Drivers

While some accidents would be considered the fault of the driver who runs into the log truck, logs haulers must do everything in their power to help prevent these serious and sometimes fatal accidents, regardless of who is at fault. We recommend the following to prevent tail swing incidents when driving a log truck:

  1. Mark the most extended log per state statutes with a strobe lamp, light, and/or red flag.
  2. Ensure the angle of the logs hanging off the rear of the trailer does not block the view of taillights, reflectors, or reflective tape.
  3. Use signals well in advance when preparing to make a turn.
  4. Be conscious of oncoming and following traffic to ensure there is adequate clearance for the tail swing.
  5. Be aware of all other vehicles on the roadway as you approach the turn.
  6. Check rearview mirrors and look left, right, and left again before starting the turn.

 With over 70 years of experience in the forest products industry, our experts are here to help you run a safer operation. Click the "Find an Agent" button below and locate an agent near you.

Find an Agent

For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

Let's Talk

Looking for a long-term partner that works hard for you and your business? Contact a local BITCO agent today.