Many people view semi trucks as obstacles that block their view, slow them down when following one, and make lane changing on interstates difficult. However, they deserve respect in the sense that a large dangerous animal would: it can cause great harm. Obviously, truck drivers aren’t out to hurt anyone, but their vehicles are enormous and can’t stop or steer as well as a car. Here are three facts that illustrate how dangerous they really are:
A Fully Loaded Truck Weighs 20 Times as Much as Your Car
That’s assuming your car weighs about 4,000 pounds. That’s 80,000 pounds traveling at 65 or 70 mph on an interstate. If a semi truck that heavy hits a car, the car will either get knocked out of the way if it’s lucky or the truck could crush the car beneath it in what’s called an override crash. Compared to a car, a semi-truck rides higher off the ground. This means that its momentum will cause it to go up and over a car while crushing it flat at the same time. That is, the truck bypasses the bumper and crushes the car from the top down.
Cars are commonly rear-ended this way because trucks are too heavy to stop on a dime. Think about this when you pull out in front of a semi truck or merge in front of one on the interstate.
Trucks Don’t Always Know You Are There
That’s because they have huge blind spots all around them. You probably know this about their rear and sides. However, if you cut in too close in front of them, the driver may not see you because the engine hood is blocking his view of you. When passing a truck on a multilane road, don’t move back in front of it until you can see the driver’s face in your rearview mirror. This means the driver can see you too.
Trucks Can Make Sudden Unexpected Maneuvers
This can happen when the trailer’s load suddenly shifts and forces the driver to make corrective movements to regain control. Truckers are under pressure to load up and get moving. This gives them less time to worry about proper loading. Sometimes the load is unusually top-heavy or not properly centered in the trailer. This may cause them to tip over when driving around a corner.
Another dangerous situation occurs when trucks carry empty trailers. The empty trailer doesn’t push down on the tractor’s drive wheels with enough force to give it good traction. This makes the drive wheels more prone to skidding, which severely compromises the rig’s handling. An empty trailer is easily pushed around by crosswinds. This will cause a truck to make sudden corrective maneuvers. Sometimes a strong wind gust can tip the semi truck over.
The upshot of this is to avoid lingering beside a truck on a multilane road. When passing a truck, do it quickly. For your own sake, give trucks plenty of space. If you require legal services after an accident with a truck, contact us at Hogan Injury.