The Ever-Present Danger of Tractor-Trailers
There are a few reasons why tractor-trailer wrecks can be much more dangerous than car wrecks. The obvious one is the size and weight of these vehicles. A tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. That’s 16 times the weight of your average passenger car! With that much mass, any wrong move by the trucker can be deadly.
On top of that, tractor-trailers do not have good braking ability. They need a long time before they can come to a full stop, which can be detrimental in a last-second situation.
Another contributing factor is semi-trucks’ lack of maneuverability. Because these trucks take a while to brake, turn widely, and can’t easily move in and out of tight spaces to avoid a suddenly stopped car or road debris, they have more of chances for a crash.
Lastly, many of these trucks are carrying dangerous or hazardous materials on board. Things that are flammable, or can be explosive. Those types of materials can turn a minor collision into a large-scale tragedy.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Here are the common causes of big truck crashes:
- Improperly loaded cargo: If the truck is improperly loaded, the load can shift and overturn the truck, or slip off and injure those behind the truck.
- Bad driving: A driver who fails to follow road rules and behaves aggressively can easily cause a crash.
- Stopped truck: When a truck is stopped on the side of the road, leaning into traffic, there is always potential for a collision with a car that didn’t see it in time.
- Rear-ending: Due to their poor braking ability, trucks have a hard time stopping abruptly if the vehicle in front of them makes a sudden stop.
- Turning left: Trucks can be quite slow with their turns. If there isn’t enough time for them to turn, it could lead to a collision.
- Underride: An underride happens when a passenger car collides with a truck and runs under it. This type of accident usually ends in severe injuries or fatalities.
- Fatigue: Drivers of big trucks have long distances to travel. Sleep-deprivation and tiredness play a huge role in truck-related crashes. In 2013, new federal laws were put in place to curb the number of hours a commercial truck driver can be on the road. However, some trucking companies “encourage” employees to break these rules in the name of quicker shipments.
- Drunk driving: Truck drivers have a lower legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving in most states: commercial drivers are considered “DUI” when they have 0.04% BAC or above. This reflects the seriousness of taking the wheel after having had just one drink.
- Squeeze play: This happens when a truck is making a right turn. The passenger car can get caught between the truck and the curb, which can end in serious injuries for the car’s occupants, or worse.
You can do your best to avoid an accident with a truck by staying outside of its blind spots, maintaining a safe distance between you and the truck, always using signals, never braking abruptly, keeping your lights on, and driving defensively. Unfortunately, your good driving is no guarantee.
Tractor-trailer collisions are much more serious than passenger car collisions. It’s difficult to get out of a collision with a large truck with scrapes and bruises only. Negligence from any driver is bad, but negligence from a tractor-trailer driver is simply inexcusable.
If You Were Injured in a Truck Crash, You’re Not Alone
Being hit by a truck can be the worst experience of your life. It’s rare for anyone to get out of a truck collision without some injuries.
Commercial truck crashes are handled very differently than crashes between two privately-owned vehicles. Trucking companies have a vested interest in keeping their damages to a minimum, and to that end, they and their insurers will aggressively fight any claim filed against them. These cases often involve multiple defendants and different states if the truck was delivering something cross-country. They also involve multi-million dollar insurance policies, which should be used to pay the victims.
It is not easy to recover money after a trucking crash, which is why you need an experienced Omaha truck crash attorney.
Time is of the essence, because trucking insurers go to work right away to deconstruct your basis for a claim. Newer commercial trucks are equipped with “black boxes” that dial the insurer directly after a collision. We recommend you consult with a lawyer right away after accident with a truck. Call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.
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