Do you feel your grip tighten on the wheel every time a truck passes by?
You have every right to feel threatened when sharing the road with large trucks. In 2019, large truck crashes killed a total of 4,119 people. Of the people who died in a crash between a passenger vehicle and a large truck, ninety-seven percent were passenger vehicle occupants.
But you don’t need large truck accident statistics to tell you that when a truck and a car collide, the car will get the worst of the exchange. Due to the weight disparity, the force of the impact almost always favors the bigger vehicle in the clash.
Here are some other large truck facts you should know to understand the need for caution whenever you see these behemoths on the road.
Why Large Trucks Are So Dangerous
Trucks have a massive weight advantage of twenty to thirty times compared to passenger vehicles. It’s simply a matter of physics, and the heavier participant in a collision carries more momentum. Momentum is also why braking distances for trucks are much longer when compared with cars.
But the weight of the truck and its cargo isn’t the only reason they’re dangerous. The fact that trucks have a greater ground clearance is also to blame. Cars can go either partially or entirely under the truck or trailer in what’s called an underride crash. Underride crashes are often fatal or likely to cause severe injuries to the passenger vehicle occupants.
Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents
In today’s world enamored with online shopping, delivery trucks are logging miles 24/7. The pressure to deliver on time may tempt drivers to violate speed limits or exceed the time they’re behind the wheel. According to IIHS research, truckers who’ve been driving for more than eight hours are twice as likely to crash.
Defective equipment also has a significant role in car crashes. Any equipment defect in the vehicle causes the risk of crashes to increase by 200 percent. The most common are brake defects, which can be made worse by poor maintenance of truck braking systems.
Another common cause of road accidents involving trucks is improper cargo loading. Cargo that suddenly shifts in transit due to improper loading is a recipe for disaster. That’s why federal and state regulations specify the requirements regarding the weight, size, etc., of the cargo.
Laws That Govern Large Trucks
In the US, both trucking companies and commercial drivers are subject to regulations by federal and state agencies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA is the one that sets standards for new truck equipment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs the safety of commercial vehicles.
The FMCSA handles the licensing, service hours, and vehicle inspection and maintenance. A truck driver is required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to ensure that they’re qualified for the job.
Should you get into an accident involving a large truck, know that a truck accident claim is typically more complicated. It would be best to consider hiring a truck accident lawyer. If you can hire one, you have a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve.
Always Be Careful When Sharing the Road With Large Trucks
More often than not, you’re going to be on the losing end in a crash with large trucks. Always practice defensive driving when you see these massive vehicles on the road.
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