Any motor vehicle accident can be serious–even fatal. But, a commercial truck accident carries special risks. And, the people most at risk in a large truck accident are those outside the vehicle, including people in passenger cars and other smaller vehicles on the road.
In 2020, 4,965 people across the United States were killed in crashes involving large trucks. Just 831 (16.7%) of those fatalities involved occupants of the truck. The rest were drivers and passengers in other vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians and others. There were 146,930 reported non-fatal large truck accident injuries. 44,934 (30%) of those injured were truck drivers and their passengers. The remainder–more than 100,000 injuries–affected people outside the truck.
Why are Truck Accidents More Dangerous?
The short answer is that commercial trucks are very large and heavy. One reason that makes them more dangerous is obvious: when a loaded semi-truck weighing 65,000 pounds collides with a compact car weighing 3,000 pounds, the car is going to get the worst of that collision. But, that extra weight doesn’t just mean a collision does more harm. It can also mean a crash is more likely to happen. That’s because big trucks are harder to maneuver quickly and take longer to slow and stop than lighter vehicles.
When Do You Need a Florida Truck Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in a collision with a large truck, or have lost a loved one in a commercial trucking accident, you’ll want to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer that specializes in truck accidents as soon as possible. Commercial trucking accidents often involve complex issues such as multiple possible responsible parties, out of state defendants, federal regulations, and the need for expert witnesses.
With all of that in play, experience counts. You can schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer at Harrell & Harrell right now. Just call 904-251-1111 or fill out the contact form on this site.
Truck Accident Statistics
Some types of truck accidents are more common than others, and some are more dangerous than others. 73% of all fatal truck accidents and 83.6% of all truck accident injuries involved other motor vehicles. Nearly 9% of fatalities involved a large truck hitting a pedestrian.
Understanding what can go wrong when you’re sharing the road with semi trucks and other large trucks can help you avoid these accidents and keep yourself and your passengers safe.
Most Common Types of Truck Accidents
“Jackknifing” is a term used to describe a situation in which a large truck’s trailer slips out of sync with the truck itself. This happens for a variety of reasons, including faulty brakes, unbalanced loads, turning too quickly, and weather conditions. Across the U.S., there are thousands of jackknife accidents each year.
A truck that jackknifes may fold in on itself, and may roll over. This is obviously dangerous for the driver and the vehicle, but can also present a serious risk to others on the road. A trailer sliding out of alignment may strike another vehicle, or drift into a lane of traffic in front of oncoming cars.
Rear-end collisions are common with all types of motor vehicles. But, with large trucks, they present two special risks. First, because a large truck takes longer to stop, a rear-end collision is more likely if a car or other smaller vehicles stops or slows abruptly in front of a large truck. Second, the weight of the large truck and the resulting momentum means that a smaller vehicle may be crushed in the collisions.
Blind Spot Accidents
The size and shape of a commercial truck means the driver has more limited visibility than drivers of passenger vehicles. That means they’re at greater risk of causing an accident with a lane change, while moving onto an exit, or even when making a turn.
Tire Blow-Out Accidents
Semi-trucks are constructed to withstand tire blowouts. With more axles and tires than a passenger vehicle, they’re better able to maintain stability if a tire blows on the road. Driving with a blown tire is dangerous and is a violation of federal law. But, it’s possible.
Still, blowouts can be dangerous in two ways. The first is that a tire blowing may shift the balance of the vehicle. Depending on the placement of the blown tire and the force of the blowout, the driver may lose control of the truck. The second is that a blown tire may throw debris that damage other vehicles and cause collisions.
Protecting Against Truck Accident Injuries
The examples above illustrate the dangers of sharing the road with large trucks. Awareness can be your best defense. For example, the greatest risks associated with a semi jackknifing are to the vehicles next to and following relatively closely behind the semi. Keeping a safe distance between yourself and a semi you’re following–even if it’s in the next lane–will give you a better opportunity to take evasive action if the trailer slides or the truck tips.
Since you know how difficult it is for a large truck to stop quickly and how dangerous it can be if you’re rear-ended by a semi, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the distance behind you as well as your own following distance. If a large truck is riding too close behind you, especially in stop-and-go traffic or an area where you’ll be encountering intersections and stop lights, consider changing lanes or moving aside to allow the truck to pass you.
And, of course, always be aware of a truck’s blind spots. You’ve undoubtedly seen warnings on large trucks that say “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” Take that to heart and avoid riding in a semi-truck’s blind spot.
Much of the responsibility for avoiding semi truck accidents and other large truck crashes lies with the truck driver. But, being on guard and keeping a safe distance can minimize the risks.
Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a large truck or have lost a loved one to a semi truck accident, you should speak with an experienced semi truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. To learn more about how you may be able to secure compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost work time and other damages, schedule a free consultation right now. Just call 904-251-1111 or fill out the contact form on this site to get started.