When a passenger vehicle and a large truck collide, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are usually the ones who end up seriously injured or killed.
It’s basic physics: large trucks generally weigh as much as 30 times as the average passenger vehicle. In addition, their height and ground clearance means that smaller cars can even end up crashed into the underside of a big rig.
However, size isn’t the only factor behind large truck accidents and the deaths of those in the passenger vehicles they hit. Government analysis indicates that there are numerous factors at play behind the average accident:
- Truck drivers may be driving while they’re simply too fatigued to be behind the wheel. Studies show that many exceed the federal limits of 11-hour driving stretches and 77-hour work weeks.
- Breaking is a problem. Large trucks need up to 40 percent more room to come to a stop than the average passenger vehicle. That distance gets even longer on wet or icy roads.
- Bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists are at a greater risk of being killed by big rigs than those in passenger cars. Simply being clipped by a big rig has more force behind it than a passenger car does — and truck drivers have less visibility. That means they may simply not see people on foot or using small modes of transportation.
- Two-thirds of deaths in truck accidents in 2015, the year studied, were caused by tractor-trailer trucks, rather than single-unit vehicles. That indicates that there are fewer drivers skilled at handling the big rigs than there are single-unit vehicles.
- Interstates and freeways are the safest when traveling around big-rigs. The majority of accidents occurred on other major roads and minor roads. Only about 30 percent of accidents were on the interstate.
Obviously, there’s some major room for improvement when it comes to safety where large trucks are concerned. In the meantime, those in passenger cars can look out for their own safety by keeping in mind facts like these and remembering to give tractor-trailers a wider berth and allowing trucks of all kinds more room on smaller roads in particular.
For those who are involved in a truck accident, it’s wise to seek out legal advice about your options for compensation before you agree to any insurance settlement.
Source: www.iihs.org, “Large Trucks,” accessed Nov. 29, 2017