Most people who drive personal vehicles on public roads understand that they should be wary about commercial trucks, like 18-wheelers or semi-trailer trucks. These vehicles are involved with a large number of fatal crashes each year, as well as accidents that result in serious injuries and permanent disabilities.
There are three major factors to consider about commercial trucks that contribute to the seriousness of accidents. Understanding these risk factors can help you reduce your chances of getting into a collision with a commercial vehicle.
Trucks have trouble turning and stopping
Have you ever noticed those signs on the back of commercial trucks warning that they make wide turns? Due to the manner in which the trailer gets attached to the main truck, commercial trucks make large, sweeping arcs when turning. This can increase the risk of a sideswipe or blindside accident at intersections.
Because of their size and weight, trucks build up massive momentum when driving. It can take them longer periods of time and larger distances to fully stop when compared with typical passenger vehicles. This can result in commercial trucks crashing into existing accidents or a vehicle that has had to suddenly stop. Commercial trucks can jacknife when suddenly stopping, blocking all lanes of traffic and increasing the risk of a crash.
Trucks have massive blind spots
Like wide turns, blind spots are another issue that trucks often have signage for. Those who are forced to drive directly next to or behind commercial trucks may not be visible to the operators of these massive vehicles. Even with large panels of mirrors, truck drivers may not notice smaller vehicles in these dangerous blind spots until a collision has happened.
In order to protect yourself, you should take every step possible to avoid driving in the blind spots of commercial trucks. Sometimes, especially in heavy traffic on highways or interstates, you won’t have a choice. If you are following a commercial truck, leave a space large enough for several vehicles between your car and the back of the truck. That will reduce your risk of a crash and improve your visibility to the truck driver.
Truck drivers are professionals but still human
Truck drivers have special training to ensure that they can operate these massive machines safely. Many trucking companies have professional codes of conduct that address everything from cellphone use while driving to the consumption of alcohol and prescription medication. Federal law limits the number of hours truckers can drive, to reduce exhaustion and fatigue-related crashes. Still, truck drivers are humans who can make mistakes like anyone else.
Choosing to drive when impaired, exhausted or indulging in a distraction, like eating or checking social media, can have dire consequences for a truck driver and others on the road. Truck drivers can make bad decisions or get forced into less than ideal situations, which can result in increased risk to others on the road.
The incredible size of a truck can pose gigantic risks to normal drivers. If a truck driver neglects their duty to keep their vehicle under control, the results could be deadly. For those injured by such negligence, the help of a truck accident attorney might be the key to recovering from this tragedy. Call the Traffic Accident Law Center at (760) 798-7000 to talk to an experienced attorney. You have legal rights when it comes to truck accidents, so call today.