Semitrucks: The most dangerous vehicles on the road | Houck | Reynolds, LLC
Houck | Reynolds, LLC

Semitrucks: The most dangerous vehicles on the road

In a perfect world, everyone would be driving in a small compact car equipped with modern safety equipment and safety features. These features might include airbags, automatic braking systems, high-quality seatbelts, collapsing steering wheels and specially designed steel frames that protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash.

However, we don't live in a perfect world. Perhaps you were driving or riding in a compact vehicle and you needed to share the roadway with a large commercial semitruck. That semitruck poses a serious and potentially fatal danger to you and anyone else riding in your standard sized car. If the semitruck hit you, it's likely that you and the other occupants of your car suffered catastrophic injuries.

Why are semitrucks so dangerous?

The dangers associated with semitrucks are mostly due to physics. A fully-packed semitruck usually weighs 80,000 pounds or even more. Meanwhile, the average passenger car weighs about 3,000 pounds. Imagine a collision between an 80,000-pound object and a 3,000-pound object and it's clear to see which one is going to get destroyed.

Another less-than-obvious danger associated with semitrucks, however, has nothing to do with physics and everything to do with driver fatigue. Professional truck drivers are hauling heavy loads across long distances. They might be driving for a period of several days across the country, and they might be low on sleep and extremely fatigued. Trucker fatigue causes countless fatalities, which could have been avoided, every day on our nation's roads.

How do big rig accidents usually happen?

Some common factors that lead to crashes between standard cars and commercial trucks include:

-- The dangerous disadvantages of large semitrucks: These dangers include slow braking, slow turning, slow acceleration and bad visibility.

-- Risky actions by automobile drivers: Normal vehicle drivers need to be very careful whenever a semitruck is present. Sometimes, drivers don't honor the fact that semitrucks have numerous blind spots, or they accelerate, slow down or change lanes too quickly, and don't allow semitrucks sufficient time to maneuver around them.

-- Mechanical condition of semitrucks: Sometimes semitruck drivers and transportation companies fail to maintain their vehicles, and they become dangerous and at risk of getting into a crash.

-- Driver fatigue: As mentioned above, driver fatigue results in numerous commercial vehicle accidents. The law requires truck drivers to have a certain amount or rest every day.

Pursuing damages after a semitruck crash

Special laws apply to semitrucks, and those laws may come into play following an injurious commercial trucking accident. Motor vehicle drivers hurt by a negligent or unlawful semitruck driver or transportation company may have viable claims to pursue financial damages in civil court.

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