Whatever name you use for the trucks on highways, be it tractor trailers, semis, heavy trucks or big rigs, it is well worth your while to be careful around them. Take the year 2015; large truck crashes proved fatal for 3,852 people. Sixty-nine percent of the deaths were comprised of people in cars and similar vehicles while motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians made up 15 percent. Meanwhile, people in the big rigs made up 16 percent of these fatalities. Here’s a rundown of why these trucks can be so dangerous.
Braking is not easy like it is in a car
When you drive a car, braking is relatively easy. Not so in a big rig, which weighs more, carries a lot of cargo and may be driven by a fatigued person. One second can be all it takes to lead to horrific injuries.
Moreover, many big rigs do not get the maintenance they need, so brakes in bad shape may go unnoticed for longer. When you add inclement weather to the mix, braking becomes even more difficult. There is a lot working against big rigs, and they require 20 percent to 40 percent more space to come to a complete stop than cars do.
As a rule of thumb, give drivers ample room after you pass a truck and return to the right lane. Wait until your rearview mirror shows the truck’s entire front before you settle into the right lane and decrease speed.
Drivers’ visibility is limited
Large trucks mean large swaths of limited or no visibility. Try to stay out of truck drivers’ blind zones whenever possible; it is unlikely a trucker sees you if you cannot see the mirrors of the truck. Suppose a truck driver needs to swerve quickly – if he or she does not see you because you are in the blind spot, you could receive a direct hit.
Big rigs make wide turns, and during these times, their drivers’ visibility is still limited. Avoid trying to get around a truck making a turn. Ditto when a truck is backing up; plus, you never know what could be on the other side of the truck. It’s best to wait as patiently as possible for the truck to finish maneuvering.
Neck pain, back pain, paralysis, traumatic brain injury and even death may result from a collision with a truck. If you are involved in such a situation, speaking with an attorney can help you navigate the process of reclaiming your life.