Truck accidents are among the most devastating roadway incidents. These collisions can cause severe injuries and loss of life for other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Understanding why truck accidents are so dangerous helps promote safety and prevent accidents.
Vehicle size and weight
Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are massive vehicles. Their substantial size and weight can cause significant damage in an accident. For example, a loaded tractor-trailer could weigh up to 80,000 pounds, much more than the average passenger vehicle.
Longer stopping distances
Trucks need considerable time and distance to come to a complete stop. Rear-end collisions can occur when drivers of smaller vehicles suddenly change lanes or brake in front of a truck. Such accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities.
Trucks have many more blind spots than passenger vehicles do. Drivers have limited vision of the areas around the truck, which can cause accidents if smaller vehicles travel in those blind spots. Inadequate visibility increases the risk of lane changes and merging accidents.
Improperly secured cargo can cause catastrophic accidents. If items shift during transit, it can destabilize the vehicle, causing the driver to lose control. Cargo spills also create road dangers, particularly when the incident involves flammable or hazardous materials.
Truck drivers often work long hours to meet demanding delivery schedules. The resulting fatigue can impair the ability to react quickly and make sound decisions, which raises the risk of drowsy driving accidents.
Trucks need consistent maintenance and inspections to remain in proper working condition. Neglected maintenance can lead to dangerous brake failures, tire blowouts and engine malfunctions, possibly causing a serious accident.
Truck accidents can quickly escalate into multi-vehicle collisions due to their size and impact. A single truck accident can set off a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles, increasing the potential for serious injuries and fatalities.
The National Safety Council reports that Texas had 806 truck accident deaths in 2021, more than any other state. Knowing why trucks can be so hazardous allows you to safely share the road with these extra-large vehicles.