According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 11% of all car crash deaths in 2018 occurred in large truck crashes. Furthermore, 96% of those victims were occupants of the passenger vehicles.
While big trucks like tractor-trailers and semis aren’t necessarily dangerous, accidents involving vehicles of their size are more severe.
Read on to understand what makes truck crashes so deadly and read a few tips to keep you safe on the road.
What Makes Truck Crashes Dangerous
There’s no such thing as a good car accident to get in. But, semi-truck accidents are notoriously dangerous. This is due to three important factors.
Sheer Size and Weight
When compared to the size and weight of a car or SUV, big rigs and semis are massive. That’s why the primary loss of life in a truck accident usually comes from the other vehicles involved.
Both size and weight affect the forces of physics that people inside a vehicle experience during a crash. And, the smaller the vehicle, the more those forces will be felt.
Keep this factor in mind when sharing the road with motorcycles, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for these smaller vehicles.
Short Stopping Distance
These same laws of physics also dictate that the larger vehicle is, the more time and distance it will require to come to a complete stop. So, no matter how good the driver, large commercial trucks can’t stop on a dime.
At average highway speed, a car takes over 300 feet to stop. Big trucks, on the other hand, take over 500 feet.
You should also keep in mind that these commercial vehicles use a different type of braking system than your car. Slamming on the brakes is more likely to cause locking, which can also lead to serious accidents.
Because of their weight and size, big trucks can’t avoid obstacles as quickly. Their turning radius is much wider, so they require about double the space of a standard car to drive in a full circle.
Truck drivers don’t have the ability to swerve suddenly, either. Doing so can cause the vehicle to “jackknife.”
This dangerous type of accident causes the trailer and cab to skid at two different angles creating a v-shape. In a jackknife skid, the driver has little to no control over their rig, creating a deadly situation for everyone involved.
Keep yourself out of harm’s way by driving safely around big trucks.
You should never pass on the rig’s right side or make sudden lane changes nearby. Remember, if you can’t see the driver’s face in his mirror, they likely can’t see you.
Most truck crashes are totally preventable with a bit of caution. But, accidents do happen.
Even if you’ve never been in a crash, it’s handy to have contact information for a car accident lawyer handy. You never know when you’ll need it.