What Causes Truck Drivers to Lose Control and Crash?By Gabriel Levin on October 13th, 2017
While semi-trucks are big, fast, and dangerous, we all have to share the road. Our economy and our ever-growing demand for consumer goods ensure that the number of big rigs on the road continues to rise. When you drive in Pennsylvania, you share the road with tractor-trailers. As such, it’s in your best interest to educate yourself about how to stay safe out there.
The cars we drive are agile and easy to maneuver. In fact, technology related to the powerful braking systems in cars continues to advance. When you’re behind the wheel of your car, you can practically stop on a dime. Semi-trucks, on the other hand, are far too heavy and cumbersome to stop short. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports several important stopping statistics:
- The stopping times and distances for 18-wheelers are much greater than they are for cars.
- The stopping distance increases when semis are loaded down or when they are driving under adverse weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, or snow.
- A fully-loaded big rig traveling at about 55 miles per hour on clear roads requires nearly the length of two full football fields to come to a complete stop.
In other words, you should provide semis with plenty of space on the road.
Semis pay for their massive size and weight with reduced maneuverability. They simply can’t make the sharp turns or instant lane changes that a car can easily manage. When space is at a premium, such as in construction zones or when pulling in and out of smaller areas, things can become even more restrictive and dangerous. In the final analysis, tractor-trailers need room to maneuver safely, and it’s in your best interest to give them that room. Yield to 18-wheelers, refrain from speeding around them as they prepare to make turns, and give them the space and time they need to change lanes (rather than rushing ahead of them).
Big rigs that make right turns are especially prone to creating a right turn squeeze in which cars can become ensnared. Because tractor-trailers are too large to easily take a right turn from the right-most lane, they typically move into the left lane to allow themselves enough room to make a safe right. For this reason, it is exceedingly dangerous to pass a semi on the right.
Seeing Blind Spots
Large commercial trucks experience large blind spots, or “no zones.” In fact, truck drivers experience limited visibility on all four sides of their trucks. When you’re behind the wheel, pay careful attention to truckers’ huge no zones—if you’re in one, a truck driver simply may not see you. When a big rig is turning, changing lanes, or backing up, those blind spots can become even more dangerous. Remember that an 18-wheeler’s right side blind spot is significantly larger than the blind spot on its left.
Stay safe by spending as little time as possible in a commercial trucker’s no zones. When you do pass a big rig on the road, allow yourself enough space that you can see the entire truck in your rear-view mirror before you move back into its lane. In addition, allow plenty of space between you and the semi ahead of you—otherwise, the trucker won’t see you.
Trucking, by any standards, is a tough gig, and drivers are often faced with tight deadlines and long hauls. Truckers are held to strict regulations regarding driving times and duty periods, but drivers sometimes push the limits of these restrictions. Drivers sometimes drive tired, distracted, and even impaired. All these elements can contribute to big rig accidents.
Big Rigs: Big Accidents
Big rigs do everything big—and that includes accidents. Accidents involving semi-trucks are some of the deadliest on the road, and you share the road with these metal behemoths. Take the time to understand exactly what makes 18-wheelers so dangerous and how you can keep yourself safe by steering clear of them.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Semi Accident, Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you know how devastating that can be. Because semi-accident claims can be especially complicated, you need an experienced Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, truck accident lawyer. The Levin Firm is here to help. We have the knowledge, dedication, and skill to fight for your claim’s most beneficial outcome. Please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.