Driving near large trucks is scary. The sheer size of these monstrous vehicles makes them intimidating and dangerous. Your fear of sharing the road with big rigs is not irrational. According to crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly four-thousand people died in tractor-trailer collisions in 2016.
So what makes 18-wheeler trucks so deadly? Here are five of the top reasons why people die in semi-truck crashes:
1. Weight difference
A commercial truck is just about the largest vehicle on the road. Your car may three-thousand pounds in comparison to a truck weighing eighty-thousand pounds. It is simply a matter of common sense and physics that you and your passenger vehicle will experience more damage than the truck if you get into a collision.
2. Blind spots
Every vehicle has blind spots, but trucks have even more significant ones. They are so substantial that they are often referred to as "no-zones." You have a higher chance of disappearing from the view of the truck driver, making you more susceptible to an accident.
3. Stopping distance
Trucks need a much longer time to brake than other vehicles. If truck drivers are not paying attention or leaving enough room, they may slam into the back of your car. Be careful not to weave in and out of lanes right in front of a big rig.
4. Incompetence or driver error
While a lot of truck drivers are properly trained professionals, some are irresponsible. Some truck drivers may cause accidents by:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving without sufficient breaks, resulting in drowsiness
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
Some truck drivers are also not experienced enough or properly trained to handle such large vehicles.
5. Underride and override
If you rear-end a big rig, your car may slide underneath the truck. On the other hand, if a truck crashes your car from behind, it may override your vehicle. These types of crashes often result in deaths.