Recent studies show that nearly 5,000 drivers die as a result of being involved in a car accident with a semi-truck. As you probably already know, a loaded semi-truck can weigh around 35 tons, so a collision with such a monster would definitely be a nightmare.
But why is a semi truck accident so dangerous? After all, these vehicles don’t achieve very high speeds. What makes them so threatening on the road and what you can do as a driver to prevent such accidents?
These are good questions and you should keep reading this article to find out the answers!
Exploring the Main Causes of a Semi Truck Accident
Semi-trucks are responsible for transporting massive cargo across the country, whether we talk about fuel, food, raw materials or IT components. We definitely need their services, but why are they involved in accidents? Let’s find out.
1. Size and Weight Are the Primary Factors
As mentioned earlier, a loaded semi-truck can weigh over 30 tons and their average length is about 15 meters or even longer. These are small trains on the road, if you’d like. The laws of physics dictate that the higher the size and weight, the more difficult is to maneuver the object in question.
Therefore, an accident with a vehicle of this size is definitely going to be bad for the driver of the regular car. Most of today’s cars weigh around 1 or 1.5 tons which is insignificant in comparison with the weight of a semi-truck, even if it’s not fully loaded.
2. Stopping Distance
Semi-trucks are equipped with huge engines capable of generating hundreds of horsepower. This huge amount of power is necessary to move the truck as well as its cargo. An equal amount of force is required to stop the semi-truck as well. That’s why these vehicles are equipped with state-of-the-art braking systems, but sometimes that’s still not enough.
It takes a longer distance for a semi-truck to stop at a red light in comparison with a regular car. In some unfortunate instances, the truck driver cannot stop the truck on time, even if the brakes are fully engaged. That’s when accidents happen and the driver of the car can get seriously injured.
Whether you’re rear-ended by a semi-truck or you’ve been hit on your side, there’s going to be a lot of damage done to your vehicle. You can also get seriously injured and that’s why is highly recommended to keep a big distance from a semi-truck, to lower your chances of being involved in an accident.
3. Difficulty Avoiding Obstacles
Not only that ti’s hard to stop a large vehicle, but it’s also much more difficult to maneuver it on the road. Imagine you’re driving a large ship the size of Titanic. You see the iceberg, you turn the wheel as much to the left as possible, but it will still take some time for this huge ship to change its course. The same story is true for a semi-truck as well, although you’ll probably never find icebergs on the road.
Semi-trucks have a longer turning radius in comparison with a normal vehicle. It’s also more difficult for them to avoid obstacles such as another car, a pedestrian, a bike, a tree, etc. If you’re driving a regular car, make sure that you don’t simply pop up in front of a semi-truck because that might cause a horrible accident.
Truck drivers are sometimes required to drive for long hours every day. In some cases, they drive 8, 10 or even 12 hours and this can definitely be very tiring for them. Although they sit on a chair and gently move the wheel, this job requires great attention to detail and constant vigilance.
When truck drivers get tired, they are more likely to make mistakes and hit other cars. Fatigue numbs reflexes and makes you pay less attention to the road. In worst cases, truck drivers even fall asleep for a few moments behind the wheel. Dozing off behind the steering wheel is extremely dangerous, whether the semi truck is driving on a highway or around town.
If you’ve been involved in a semi-truck accident, it’s important to take action right away. Check out this post and find out what you should do after you’ve been in a collision with an 18-wheeler.
5. Substance Abuse
In a perfect world, no vehicle owner would ever drink and drive. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and some truck drivers sit behind the steering wheel after they have consumed a few alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can seriously impair judgment and cause drivers to make poor decisions.
Other substances can also numb the reflexes of drivers and make them get involved in accidents. Marijuana, mushrooms, and even cocaine are culprits as well. Although driving under the influence of substances is quite rare, this is definitely an important cause of semi-truck accidents.
6. Exceeding the Speed Limit
Semi-trucks have special speed limits, especially when they are fully loaded or transport sensitive/dangerous cargo. These speed limits are imposed by the law and certain trucks might even have speed limiters installed.
However, it is not uncommon for certain truck drivers to exceed the speed limit. They might do that because they don’t want to be late when transporting a certain cargo. When deliveries are late, truck drivers can get penalized and receive a smaller payment. At the same time, their reputation will also be affected and they might not get lucrative contracts.
Exceeding the speed limit, even by a few miles, can be very dangerous for a 30-ton monster. High speed also requires a longer stopping distance and certain drivers might not be able to appreciate these distances correctly which can result in a crash.
Expand Your Knowledge Today!
Hopefully, you’ll never be involved in such an unfortunate event, whether you’re a semi-truck driver or car driver. Not only is your trucker authority on the line, it could be your life or the life of others.
But wait, there’s more! Don’t hesitate to keep browsing our blog and read other interesting articles, so you can stay informed and on top of your game!