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Why Semi-Truck Accidents Are Particularly Dangerous

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Personal Injury

Motorists share the asphalt with a variety of vehicles on busy roads. While most car trips are uneventful, accidents can happen in a split second.

When a collision involves a semi-truck, the outcome is often far more severe than a typical passenger vehicle crash. A closer look at why semi-truck accidents are significantly dangerous can help to inspire motorists to be more cautious when driving next to these large vehicles.

Disparity in size and weight

Imagine a heavyweight boxer facing off against a featherweight. The size difference is undeniable; the same principle applies to semi-trucks and passenger cars. A typical car weighs around 4,000 pounds, whereas a fully loaded semi-truck can tip the scales at a staggering 80,000 pounds – that’s twenty times the weight!

In a crash, the laws of physics dictate that the heavier vehicle transfers more force to the lighter one. This translates to devastating consequences for the occupants of the smaller car, who are far less protected in such a collision.

Stopping power imbalance

Not only are semi-trucks much heavier, but they also take significantly longer to stop. While a car can screech to a halt within a reasonable distance, a semi-truck with worn brakes or poor road conditions might require hundreds of feet to come to a complete stop. This extended stopping distance creates a nightmarish scenario for nearby vehicles, which may be unable to avoid a collision if the truck driver encounters an unexpected hazard.

The peril of blind spots

Large trucks have massive blind spots that encompass significant areas around the vehicle. These zones, particularly on the sides and rear of the truck, are invisible to the driver. Passenger car drivers who unknowingly linger in these blind spots become at risk for accidents when the truck needs to change lanes or make a turn. Staying aware of these blind spots and avoiding lingering near them is crucial for safe driving around large trucks.

Cargo concerns

The dangers of semi-truck accidents extend beyond the immediate collision. Many semi-trucks carry hazardous materials; if an accident occurs, these materials can leak or explode, creating a secondary environmental hazard. Even non-hazardous cargo can become deadly projectiles during a crash, causing further damage and potential injuries.

As semi-truck accidents are particularly dangerous, understanding these risks can help passenger car drivers share the road more safely. However, it is also important to keep in mind that should a motorist get into an accident due to a truck driver’s negligence, they may seek compensation for their injuries.