Driving alongside semi-trucks on the interstate can be frightening. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to experience anxiety while sharing the road with a big rig. When a large truck quickly approaches from behind or when it squeezes past in a narrow lane, your heart might beat a little faster and you grip your steering wheel a little tighter, hoping that you’ll be able to continue onward unscathed.
There’s a reason you don’t feel this way every time a sedan or SUV passes you on the road. Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles pose a much higher risk to you and your loved ones if an accident were to occur.
4 Factors that Make Semi-Trucks More Dangerous than Cars
- Excessive Weight.
Semi-trucks are much heavier than cars and, therefore, can cause significantly more damage in a crash. Consider the difference between being hit by a 3,000-pound car versus a 70,000-pound truck. The end result of a trucking accident is often catastrophic with injuries ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries or even death.
- Inability to Brake.
An 18-wheeler’s large size also makes it more difficult to brake quickly. For example, when traveling at 65 miles per hour, a passenger vehicle will take about 316 feet to come to a complete stop while a semi-truck will need about 525 feet. The additional distance needed to stop increases the likelihood of being rear-ended if there’s a sudden stop in traffic.
- Limited Visibility.
Large trucks have blind spots due to their sizable height and length. In fact, warning signs stating, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you,” are often seen on the back of tractor trailers. If truck drivers aren’t hyperaware of their surroundings while driving on the interstate, the results could be disastrous.
Unless we’re on a road trip, most of us do not spend more than an hour or two on the road on any given day. On the other hand, truck drivers are often on a never-ending road trip – driving in 10-hour increments for days on end. While regulations have gotten stricter on the amount of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, these rules are not guaranteed to prevent fatigue – and likewise, are not always followed. At the end of a shift, it’s understandable that a driver may begin to feel tired, but even a brief moment of drowsiness or distraction could lead to a life-altering crash.
Trucking companies must recognize the dangers their trucks present and take on the responsibility of ensuring they keep our roads as safe as possible. This includes performing thorough background checks on drivers, strictly enforcing all trucking regulations, training drivers on how to recognize and manage fatigue, and purchasing an insurance policy that can cover any damages if their truck driver does cause a wreck.
How to Handle a Trucking Accident Case
Pursuing an injury case after a semi-truck crash can also be much different than a case that only involves passenger vehicles. Due to the factors listed above, the injuries are often much worse, and the legal issues more vigorously defended. It’s important to recognize that these trucking accidents are rarely “accidents” at all, but are commonly the result of a series of poor decisions made by the trucking company itself.
While the truck driver may be at fault because of reckless driving or personally choosing not to abide by trucking regulations, the trucking company may also be liable for irresponsible hiring practices, lack of regular truck maintenance, or poor employee training. Because these companies have so much at stake, they are covered by insurance companies with defense lawyers who will frequently stop at nothing to reduce the amount of damages owed to the victim.
Lawyers who advertise for car wrecks are not always so experienced when it comes to cases involving commercial trucks. That’s why it’s important to work with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney that can quickly identify the best plan of action. Find an attorney that will look beyond the obvious details of the wreck to ensure important evidence is promptly secured, the at-fault parties are held fully accountable, and justice is served.
At the Law Office of Kenneth Berger, we are dedicated to helping victims of trucking accidents and keeping our roads as safe as possible. If you or a loved one have been injured in a semi-truck crash in South Carolina, our experienced attorneys would be honored to take the burden off your shoulders and guide you through your case. Contact our Columbia truck accident lawyers today through our online contact form, the live chat box below, or by phone at (803)-790-2800.