Truck accidents are more complex than other vehicle collisions due to the large disparity on weight, which may lead to severe injuries for the parties involved.
Statistics show that among those who experience truck accidents, 67% were motorists and their passengers, 16% were the drivers themselves, and the rest were pedestrians, motorcyclists, and/or cyclists. Accident victims have suffered burn injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, property damages, psychological pain and suffering, lost wages, and disfigurement or a permanent disability. One cannot stress enough why truck driving is not to be taken lightly; so, when one is driving near a road behemoth, one needs to be extremely careful.
This article discusses four reasons why motorists should be cautious when driving near trucks.
Table of Contents
1. They Are Massive And Difficult To Maneuver
Commercial truck accidents have more complications than smaller vehicles, primarily because of their size. Trucks that are designed to carry heavy loads are made bigger and more durable. The heavier the load they can carry, the greater the danger. For instance, when fully loaded, an 18-wheeler truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can cause serious damages on the road especially when its weight exceeds the allowable threshold. As a rule of thumb, the larger and heavier the truck, the longer it takes to come to a full stop.
A truck’s break capacity diminishes as its weight increases; hence, trucks are much slower to decelerate as well. In cases where the driver needs to immediately stop to prevent collision, they may find it difficult to abruptly maneuver the wheels, making trucks prone to accidents. When going downhill, overweight trucks are also harder to control.
In a truck-and-car collision, the smaller and lighter vehicle gets the most impact. The measure of acceleration is higher in the car, from moving to coming to a full stop in a short time period. The impact on the car passengers is chaotic, causing their bodies to jerk or move quickly, hitting interiors of the car.
By understanding these risks, you will be able to avoid truck accidents from occurring.
2. They Have Blind Spots On All Sides
Be aware that almost all trucks have four blind spots: one in each side of the trailer, one behind, and another below the cab. Remember that your car can go out of view with any of these blind spots. If you decide to overtake the truck and it moves in your direction, it can cause a mishap.
One factor that can cause blind spot accidents is the absence of rearview mirrors. Drivers usually rely on side mirrors to see the vehicles behind, so accidents tend to happen when the truck collides with cars that disappear from view. Frequently, accidents happen when the truck does a turn or changes lanes. The side of the other vehicle, then, collides with the truck or hits an angle once it moves onto the vehicle’s lane.
Smaller vehicles should, therefore, avoid driving too close behind a truck and should give it space to slow down.
3. They Run On Tight Schedules
Commercial truck drivers are often required to stick to specific schedules and to drive for long periods. The pressure to perform can be exhausting and leads to more significant risks of accidents. Drowsiness is just as hazardous as substance abuse when on the road. When their senses are dulled, it takes drivers longer to react.
They will also have to endure unpleasant weather. Sometimes, slippery roads also add to the danger. Moreover, it’s a greater risk when drivers are running late and are in a hurry. They might turn to overspeeding regardless of the threat.
5. They Transport Dangerous Cargo
Commercial trucks and trailers transport different materials every day. Some are delivering gasoline, lumber, home-heating fuel, and diesel. Driving close to trucks that carry flammable and heavy cargo is even more dangerous for catching fire or being crushed. It can result in severe injuries, even fatal casualties.
Trucks also become a menace when cargo isn’t loaded adequately. The weight of the shipment must be secured and balanced at all times to ensure safety. Heavy cargo could shift from side to side if the load is not fixed onto the vehicle properly, which may eventually cause the truck to roll over.
Accidents involving trucks are even more dangerous because of their size, weight, and the kind of cargo that they deliver. The massive size of the trucks makes them difficult to maneuver, and because of their blind spots, they could easily collide with other motorists.
Victims who come across truck accidents must first seek out medical treatment, even if you think you’re not injured. Medical professionals can tell you much about injuries that don’t have obvious symptoms. Call the police, so they can collect statements and documents about the accident. It’s also important to remember not to admit fault to anyone, especially to the police and the other party involved because your words can be used against you. More importantly, call for legal representation to help you navigate through the process.
While truck drivers are always expected to be alert, it is better for motorists and pedestrians alike to become aware of the dangers of heavy trucks and to exercise caution to avoid accidents and devastation.