Semi Trucks are among the most dangerous vehicles on the roadways of the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 450,000 collisions involving large trucks occur every year. These collisions cause at least 5,000 deaths and another 140,000 people to be severely injured.
Why are Large Trucks So Dangerous?
Trucks are dangerous mainly because of their size and weight. Trucks have a hard time maneuvering with heavy loads and it is nearly impossible for a large truck, such as a semi, to stop suddenly. This can make the event of a crash catastrophic and may end up involving many cars in a chain reaction of crashes known as a “pileup.”
Other safety risks associated with large trucks include large blind-spots, manufacturing defects, and negligent drivers.
1 – Large Blind Spots
Semis and other large trucks simply have a hard time seeing other vehicles on the road in certain spots. The areas directly behind and in most of the space next to the truck are referred to as “blind-spots” or areas that the driver will have no way to see you. Though most trucks have long side mirrors, this does not compensate for much in terms of visibility.
2 – Manufacturing Defects.
The parts used to make large trucks have to endure a lot of wear and tear. The brake pads, tires, fuel tanks and other vital components of a truck may not have been properly manufactured and could cause the truck to lose control or crash. It’s possible that the company that manufactured the part is reliable for producing a product that did not meet a standard of safety. Or, it’s also possible that the truck company is at fault for not properly maintaining its trucks and providing regular repairs.
3 – Negligent Drivers
Truck drivers are capable of human error and can neglect to uphold their duty of being a safe driver. Truck drivers are not excluded from the nationwide pandemic of distracted driving. A truck driver may crash because they are fatigued by a lack of sleep, as some truck drivers may be encouraged to skip mandatory sleeping hours in order to meet a deadline. The driver could be distracted not see a car beside him until it’s too late.
Safety Tips for Driving with Large Trucks
- Stay outside of a truck’s blind-spot.
A good way to determine if you are inside a truck’s blind-spot is to look for the truck’s side mirrors. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, you are likely in a blind-spot.
- Do not cut-off a Large truck.
Large trucks will not be able to stop or slow down suddenly. Additionally, large trucks take wide turns that require lots of space, so it would be wise to avoid turning at the same time as a large truck.
- Use common driving safety practices.
It is important to always use safe driving practices like using turn signals and fastening seat belts. Sometimes following common practices of a safe driver can prevent you from crashing into other vehicles, even when they’re the one’s who would have been responsible for the crash.
- Be aware and alert
The best way to avoid a crash (and most accidents in general) is by being aware of what is happening around you. Distractions are a leading cause of auto collisions, so remember to always pay attention to the road.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult a truck accident lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim.