Semi trucks have become a staple of U.S. roadways, delivering billions of tons of freight across the country each year. We rely on them to stock our stores and get deliveries to our doorsteps faster than ever, which is why there are millions of trucks in operation averaging tens of thousands of miles per year.
And yet, there is certainly a danger associated with these trucks. Their size and weight are immense, which is why – if you are like most people – you prefer to avoid them on the road as much as possible.
The inherent dangers of large semi trucks are often exacerbated by issues such as carelessness and lack of training on the part of drivers and their employers, negligent maintenance, defective parts, and more. If one or more of these factors leads to an accident, you and your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and losses you sustain.
Contact a trucking accident attorney at Colombo Law today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We know the dangers of semi trucks, and we have the experience to handle your claim effectively.
Dangers When Driving Around Semi Trucks
Operating a semi truck is very different from driving a passenger vehicle. Truck drivers are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they can get behind the wheel of a big rig.
To get a CDL, drivers must pass a written exam and a road test. These tests are designed to assess how well drivers recognize the size, weight, and unique limitations of their trucks. It is equally important for the drivers of other vehicles to be aware of these hazards when they are in traffic with a semi truck:
Trucks are not as maneuverable as passenger vehicles. This poses a danger at high speeds, as the driver is unable to slow down or turn nearly as quickly when a hazard or obstacle presents itself.
High speeds can also lead to much more serious accidents, particularly for the occupants of other vehicles.
The danger of semi trucks is largely a product of their weight. Fully loaded semi trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is roughly 20 times heavier than an average passenger vehicle.
When a vehicle this heavy is involved in an accident, it can cause a tremendous amount of damage. Catastrophic injuries and fatalities are often the result.
Beyond weight, there is also the issue of size. Semi trucks are tall, long vehicles with highly limited visibility. This creates several blind spots – also known as “no zones” – where truck drivers cannot see around their vehicles.
There are a few specific areas drivers should keep in mind when they are in traffic near a semi truck:
- First, due to the height of a truck cab, truck drivers cannot see immediately in front of their trucks. It is very important for drivers never to cut semis off in traffic.
- Second, in the absence of a rearview mirror, truck drivers cannot see directly behind them. As a result, tailgating a semi truck is always dangerous.
- Finally, as with many passenger vehicles, truck drivers have blind spots on both sides of their trucks. You should avoid driving alongside them any longer than is necessary.
We all know what it means to drive defensively. However, the presence of these “no zones” means we should be that much more attentive when driving around semi trucks.
Due to the length of semi trucks, they often take very wide right turns. They do this out of necessity to avoid cutting corners.
However, if a driver is not paying enough attention, they may think a truck driver is shifting lanes and that they can cut inside the right of the truck to make a right turn. This can lead to severe accidents, especially when you consider that the truck driver is unlikely to see vehicles within the turning radius.
Faulty or Defective Parts
Like all vehicles, semi trucks are made up of hundreds of parts. However, due to their size and weight, the integrity of the parts is, in many ways, more important. Components of a semi truck are also more susceptible to wear and tear.
All of these factors increase the risk of a truck accident caused by mechanical failure. Multiple parties may be liable for trucking accidents caused by faulty or defective parts.
How Truck Drivers Contribute to Accidents
Unfortunately, the inherent dangers of semi trucks are not the only reasons truck accidents happen. Sometimes, negligence on the part of truck drivers can lead to catastrophic collisions.
Common examples of truck driver negligence include:
Truck drivers should know the responsibilities they have when it comes to operating the rig safely. Unfortunately, carelessness sometimes wins out over common sense.
Although errors on the part of the truck driver account for a high number of truck accidents, unraveling who is at fault can be difficult. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their drivers have clean records and do not drive longer than legally allowed. Hence, they too could share in the blame for a truck accident.
Contact a Trucking Accident Attorney Today
Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming. These accidents often result in life-altering injuries or death, which can upend lives and lead to tremendous economic and non-economic damages.
At Colombo Law, our primary focus is representing truck accident victims. We hold truck drivers, trucking companies, parts manufacturers, and others accountable when their negligence leads to accidents and injuries. Our goal is always to put our 20 years of experience to work for our clients to pursue the maximum compensation they deserve.
Please call Colombo Law at (304) 599-4229 today for a free case review. Our trucking accident attorneys serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia.