Big-Rig, 18-Wheeler, or Semi-Truck Accidents
When discussing multi-vehicle incidents, smaller vehicles such as sedans or SUVs frequently make the headlines for their involvement in a crash. On the other hand, large trucks are regularly engaged in multi-car accidents. There is no doubt that huge trucks are substantially more harmful to other vehicles on the road than standard passenger vehicles.
It’s worth considering how big-rig accidents compare to different types of accidents in terms of potential severity.
Trucks are essential to our economy. We rely on them to deliver important items that keep us going throughout the day. According to the American Trucking Association, more than 80% of U.S. communities rely on trucks to transport at least half of their commodities. According to a 2016 research by Yale University’s Center for Health and Learning, vehicles transported over 10.5 billion tons of freight per year. With so many trucks on the road every day, you’d think more accidents would involve them, but that’s not the case. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, just 25% of traffic incidents include heavy vehicles like 18-wheelers or big rigs. Those accidents, however, may be fatal: according to NHTSA figures gathered between 2009 and 2013, there were over 467 deaths per year due to heavy truck crashes over that period.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the trucking sector transports about 10.5 billion tons of freight each year. The trucking sector transports 70% of all commodities in the United States. It provides $711 billion to our economy each year—more than 2% of our GDP (GDP).
Most trucks on American highways are operated by professional drivers employed by massive commercial carriers or trucking companies (you’ve probably seen these men in their 18-wheelers moving cargo about town). These firms use roughly 700,000 people and account for nearly 95 percent of all motor carriers in the United States today.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, big-rig accidents are considerably more likely to end in a fatality than passenger car crashes. People in cars have a higher mortality risk because trucks are bigger and heavier than cars. They have a higher center of gravity, making them more prone to flip over. Furthermore, vehicles have significant blind spots since they have several blind spots where the occupants cannot see the road. When a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle on the highway, it’s like striking a brick wall—unless your car is designed like one!
Causes of Big-Rig Accidents
There’s no one cause of big-rig accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that many factors can contribute to the likelihood of a big rig accident. Some of these include:
- Driver errors, such as speeding and failure to obey traffic laws and signals
- Driver fatigue, which leads to decreased alertness and slower reaction times
- Aggressive driving behavior, such as tailgating other vehicles or passing them in unsafe locations
- Excessive speed on curvy roads or when passing another car.
Several factors can contribute to big-rig accidents, including driver fatigue and aggressive driving behavior
Many factors can contribute to big-rig accidents, including driver fatigue and aggressive driving behavior.
- Driver fatigue is one of the biggest causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers often work long hours on the road with little or no downtime between shifts. As a result, they may be fatigued when it comes time to drive again. Trucking companies may also pressure drivers to meet tight deadlines or face termination from their jobs if they don’t deliver products on time. This can lead some drivers to operate vehicles while tired or distracted by mobile devices to stay awake during their long trips through the night.
However, one of the most common causes is driver error
Many truck drivers are overworked and do not get enough rest. These drivers frequently work long hours, which might result in errors on the driver’s part due to exhaustion. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that drivers receive an average of 8 hours of sleep every night. However, many truckers try to make do with less. Many corporations underpay their truckers, forcing them to drive their rigs for longer than necessary to make ends meet.
Furthermore, training programs are scarce for newcomers who wish to become professional truck drivers capable of operating large rigs safely and successfully on the roads every day. Without sufficient training, these newcomers may make mistakes that result in significant accidents or even death for themselves and others (especially pedestrians or other motorists). Furthermore, many young men are not taught how important it is for them to take care of themselves during stressful times. Instead, they rely on alcohol consumption as an escape mechanism so that they won’t have any problems sleeping at night when driving long distances. However, this behavior can result in severe health risks and injuries such as broken bones, punctured lungs, internal bleeding, and dehydration.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, this includes failure to yield right-of-way and speeding
You’re trying to be a safe driver and follow all the road rules, but sometimes we slip up. It’s not always possible to avoid accidents with trucks, even if you don’t do anything wrong. In fact, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), most truck crashes occur due to failure on the part of other drivers on the road.
The NTSB noted these issues in their report on significant truck accidents in America:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Failure to use signals properly or at all
- Improper lane changes
- Improper passing (e.g., when someone moves into your lane without signaling)
Motorists need to remember that big-rigs cannot stop as quickly as other vehicles when driving near tractor-trailers
Suppose you have never driven a large truck before. In that case, it may be difficult to understand why they are more dangerous than regular cars. The simple answer is that it comes down to physics. A truck’s braking distance is longer than a car’s because of its weight and size, but also because of the way that hydraulics work in the brakes. When standard car brakes, all four wheels experience equal amounts of force pushing them against the road at once.
However, when the truck brakes, only two wheels get this direct force while one wheel gets none (the other two are pushing against each other). This makes stopping distances much longer for big rigs than for passenger vehicles—by as much as half again as long in some cases! Even worse still is when wet roads or icy conditions make stopping even harder for trucks: their chances of crashing increase exponentially due to these factors being added together with bad weather conditions affecting visibility or other factors like congestion levels increasing risk levels even further still.
In some instances, large trucks need over 20 seconds or a distance of nearly 500 feet at 55 miles per hour to come to a complete stop.
The time it takes a large truck to come to a complete stop depends on its speed and the road conditions.
The stopping distance of a truck can be calculated using this formula:
Stopping Distance = Speed x Time (in seconds)
For example, if you are driving at 55 mph in dry conditions and hit your brakes, it will take about 20 seconds or nearly 500 feet before you reach a complete stop. If you are driving at 40 mph on wet pavement and hit your brakes, it could take up to 30 seconds or over 700 feet for your vehicle to come to a complete stop.
Because large trucks have blind spots on all four sides and are not maneuverable like smaller vehicles, big rigs can pose a severe threat on busy highways and congested roads.
For example, suppose you’re driving in California. You see a tractor-trailer going 60 miles per hour behind you with its lights off. There’s a good chance that the driver may not see your car because of its blind spot. The same goes for other vehicles; they may be hidden from your sight when passing by other large trucks or even parked cars at an intersection.
It is imperative for other motorists near 18-wheelers and commercial trucks to drive with caution to avoid collisions with these large vehicles
You should also ensure that you do not pass trucks on the right because this is a common cause of accidents. It would be best if you did not cut off commercial trucks. When passing, give them as much room as possible to maneuver safely and avoid hitting other vehicles or pedestrians in their path. Also, when making wide turns, do not attempt to pass a commercial truck because this will put you at risk of getting into an accident with the truck. If you see an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road with its hazard lights on, then wait until it starts moving again before proceeding past it.
According to the figures, your chances of dying in a terrible, catastrophic crash while driving are much lower than they used to be. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 1.5 million individuals died on U.S. roadways between 2004 and 2014, although the overall number of miles driven climbed considerably during that time, from 2.9 trillion to 3.2 trillion each year. This equates to little more than 30 deaths per 100 million kilometers traveled, decreasing from 68 per 100 million in 1990. You may never feel entirely secure on the road or around big rigs. Still, if you’re concerned about your chances of dying in a truck accident, this should set your mind at ease for the time being.
Talk to a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
Severe injuries from big-rig accidents can happen in several ways. The most severe injuries are usually caused by the force of the impact and the size of the vehicle. The weight of a big rig can be several times more than a regular car, which can have devastating effects on passengers in other cars and pedestrians.
If you’re involved in a big rig accident, it’s essential to know what to do. You can do specific things to protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
One of the first things you should do is seek medical treatment for any injuries or health problems that result from the accident. This is especially important if you have been injured and believe that not getting medical treatment could result in further complications.
When it comes time to speak with an insurance company, there are many things that you need to remember. First of all, make sure that every accident detail is documented as soon as possible after it happens. It’s also important to read your policy carefully to know exactly what coverage is being provided and how much money will be available for compensation if there are damages related to the accident itself or any injuries suffered by others involved in the crash.
The attorneys at the Ashley Injury Lawyers can help you understand how to get compensation for your medical bills and lost wages and how to file a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company. Getting in touch with an experienced attorney is crucial because we know exactly what is needed to build your case. We will answer any questions regarding insurance companies and their policies regarding paying claims for personal injury cases.