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Why Are 18-Wheeler Trucks So Dangerous?

Published on Feb 22, 2017 at 11:30 am in General.
Why Are 18-Wheeler Trucks So Dangerous?

Simple physics dictates that a crash between a large object and small object will result in greater damage to the small object.  The size of semi trucks makes them extremely dangerous when they are involved in an accident with a smaller vehicle.  Big trucks are substantially heavier than cars.  The average passenger car weighs 3,500 pounds.  The average pickup truck weighs 8,500 pounds.  And the maximum weight in the United States is 80,000 pounds over 18 wheels.  That differential is often the difference between life and death in a crash between a car and a semi truck.

Semi trucks are also much longer than cars.  The length of an 18-wheeler means it takes longer for a passenger car to pass it, increasing the risk of accident.  Some even pull two trailers, further increasing their length and weight.  These double semi trucks have a 11 to 15% higher crash rate than single trailer semi trucks.

A blind spot is an area where the driver cannot see other vehicles around him on the road.  These spots exist on the sides of semi trucks as well as in the front and rear, no matter how many mirrors are on the truck.  Collision between a semi truck and a car in the truck’s blind spot is a common and often deadly accident.

Semi trucks have a much longer acceleration and stopping distance than cars.  A passenger car or pickup truck takes about 300 feet to come to a complete stop.  A semi truck takes almost twice that distance.  This fact can make it difficult for a semi truck to avoid rear-ending the vehicle in front of them when traffic stops abruptly.  Semi trucks are slow to accelerate which can make merging onto a high speed interstate dangerous.  If truck drivers do not allow enough distance to gain speed before merging, they can join interstate traffic at much too slow of speed and cause dangerous accidents.

The drivers of semi trucks are often fatigued as well.  Research has shown that driving sleepy is just as dangerous as driving drunk.  Drivers are pressured by the high demands of the industry to take on too much work and get their cargo delivered quickly.  They are required to log their hours to make sure they are sufficiently resting, but the rest requirements are minimal.  For every eight hours on the road, drivers are only required to log 30 minutes of rest.

The federal government regulates how much cargo a semi truck can carry, how that cargo is distributed within the trailer, and the maintenance of the vehicles themselves.  However, many companies blur the boundaries of these laws to save money, creating a dangerous driving situation.  Semi trucks that are too heavy, unbalanced, and in need of repair are more difficult to drive and control, increasing the risk of accident.

It is important for drivers to be extra vigilant when an 18-wheeler truck is near them on the road.  Using caution can help prevent dangerous accidents.  Todd W. Burris, Lexington, KY 18-wheeler accident lawyer, is experienced in investigating truck accidents and can help determine if the driver and trucking company were in compliance with federal regulations at the time of the crash.  For a free, zero-obligation consultation of your truck accident, contact the dedicated legal time at Todd W. Burris Law today!

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