Many factors can increase the risk for being involved in a collision. The weather is one common factor that can drastically increase this risk. Low visibility due to fog or slick, wet roads can create dangerous road conditions.
Additionally, driver error is often a factor in collisions. Choosing to look at a phone instead of the road, failing to yield the right of way at an intersection or speeding can all negatively affect safety on the road.
One often overlooked cause of crashes is a vehicle’s design. Commercial trucks have design features that increase their risk of causing a collision. Knowing and understanding these specific design issues can reduce your risk of being involved in a crash with a large commercial truck.
The size of commercial trucks creates large blind spots
Commercial trucks serve an important economic purpose by transporting large amounts of goods, products or materials from one location to another. In order to maximize how much they can carry, these vehicles have designs that are several times larger than standard passenger vehicles.
That large size may allow for more cargo space, but it also creates large blind spots around a truck. Significant portions of the lanes directly to the left and right of any commercial truck are blind spots. Commercial truck drivers may also have trouble seeing vehicles directly behind them on the road.
Ideally, you should avoid driving directly to either side of the truck, as well as directly behind it. As a rule, if you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
Bigger, heavier commercial vehicles take much longer to stop
You probably already know that larger commercial trucks take significantly more fuel to move. It takes more energy to get a large vehicle in motion compared with a smaller passenger vehicle. Once that truck is in motion, that extra size and weight also contribute to more momentum than smaller passenger vehicles.
This means that it takes a large commercial truck more time and a greater distance to come to a complete stop when compared with passenger vehicles traveling the same speed. Difficulty stopping is one reason why you always want to leave a significant amount of space between your vehicle and a commercial truck. Failing to provide adequate spacing can result in a severe or even fatal collision.
The way the cab connects to the trailer makes turns wider
The design of most commercial trucks enables them to pull different trailers. By having a separate cab area for the driver and trailer area for the goods, a driver can quickly unload an entire trailer and start on their next trip.
However, the massive size of the vehicle combined with the way the trailer attaches to the cab also results in very wide turns. Trucks can take up several lanes while attempting to turn into a driveway or at an intersection. Give them plenty of space, and even try to stop significantly behind the truck at an intersection so that you don’t have to worry about being hit as they attempt a turn.
Understanding how the physical design of trucks limits their performance can help you stay safe on the road. If you get into an accident with a commercial truck, it’s important to remember that you have rights and may want to discuss your options with an attorney.