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Why are 18 Wheeler Accidents So Dangerous?

Automotive accidents can be dangerous, no matter what vehicle you drive. However, every driver can acknowledge that getting into an accident with a large, commercial vehicle would be extremely dangerous and likely fatal. That’s why drivers take special care when driving around these vehicles. In this blog, learn why 18 wheeler accidents are so dangerous.

18-wheeler broke down along the highway

Heavy Vehicles

The average sedan weighs 4,000 pounds whereas a full 18-wheeler weighs up to 80,000 pounds. In an accident, this weight disparity leaves cars, SUVs, and crossovers at a significant disadvantage. Even a small accident with a commercial truck that is so much heavier than the other vehicle can cause a significant amount of damage because of the amount of force caused by the accident.

More Room to Stop

The weight of 18-wheelers makes them more difficult to handle and stop. A large commercial truck will take much more time to come to a complete stop than a passenger car. If a small car cuts off a semi-truck or stops suddenly in front of one, the 18-wheeler will have a very difficult time stopping in time to prevent an accident.

Long Hours

18 wheeler drivers serve an important purpose in our economy. They transport nearly all of the goods we need to retailers and support the supply chain. As a result, 18-wheeler drivers work long hours. While there are hours of service laws in place to enforce breaks and limit the number of hours truckers can drive, long hours of driving can cause drivers to become exhausted and less attentive on the road.

Pressure from Trucking Companies

Some trucking companies could put added pressure on drivers to get them to drive faster or for longer shifts than they are legally allowed. The faster drivers complete routes, the more routes they can complete. This is more profitable for trucking companies. While it isn’t legal, some drivers feel the impact of companies putting profit first over safety.

Inadequate Training

18-wheeler drivers are required to undergo training to get their CDL license, a requirement for driving large, commercial trucks. Not all training is as effective or thorough as drivers need. An inexperienced driver may be less equipped to drive in real-world conditions such as in rain or traffic congestion. This inadequate training can make it even more dangerous for these newer truck drivers to be on the road.

Larger Blind Spots

The way that 18 wheel trucks are designed allows a single driver to transport an enormous amount of cargo at once. While efficient, this design creates more blind spots and limits the driver’s ability to see clearly all around the vehicle. This makes it more likely for a semi-truck not to see a smaller vehicle in its blind spot and to run it over.

Heavy and Hazardous Loads

From the outside of the truck, it can be difficult to know what kind of cargo a commercial truck is carrying. Many 18-wheelers are transporting heavy or hazardous loads that put other vehicles in more danger in the event of an accident. This can include large pieces of furniture or construction supplies that could act as a projectile or chemicals that could leak onto the highway.

Research Highlights Dangers of 18 Wheeler Accidents

Research can help us to pinpoint hidden dangers associated with 18-wheeler accidents, such as rollover risk and the most dangerous times of day to be involved in a large truck accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 47% of large truck occupant deaths occurred in rollover accidents in 2019. 97% of the deaths in two-vehicle crashes with a large truck were in the passenger vehicle.

In addition, most of the deaths associated with large truck crashes in 2019 occurred between the hours of 3 a.m. and 9 p.m., whereas most of the deaths associated with other types of crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. This suggests that there is a higher risk for fatal large truck crashes during the morning, day, and early evening, not the middle of the night.

Contact a Savannah Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an 18-wheeler accident, you could be entitled to compensation. You can discuss what happened with an experienced Savannah car accident lawyer to discuss possible next steps. Phillips Carson & Phillips has experience helping car accident victims receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us to schedule a consultation by calling (912) 232-0081 or using our online contact form.