What Makes Tractor-Trailers So Dangerous in Traffic?

Loud engine noises, road vibrations, and wind accompanying their passage, tractor-trailers can inspire a type of muted terror among passenger vehicle drivers. Moreover, the risks of colliding with one of these behemoths can terrify drivers who become caught in a seemingly never-ending stream of trucks passing them only to find themselves forced to pass the trucks as the weight of their loads slows travel over rising terrain.

What causes fear when you’re forced to travel among hundreds of trucks? It’s the same fear that one receives from passing groups of roughly outfitted bullies on foot. You feel small, unprotected, and vulnerable. The truth is that trucks do cause more accidents per mile than passenger vehicles, and truck accidents can change your life in an instant.

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Increased Truck Traffic on the Nation’s Highways

Truck traffic has increased exponentially since 1960 to move more and more consumer goods across the United States. As a result, ports, airports, shopping malls, and interstate highways face increased truck usage. After the closings caused by the Covid-19 crisis and increased reliance on the shipping and delivery of goods, roads are busier than ever with truck traffic.

One of the top concerns of truck dangers is the danger of rollover. During a truck rollover event, multiple cars can be crushed, and dangerous cargo can erupt to create driving hazards. Trucks traveling around curves are subject to the centrifugal force that causes the truck to lean in the opposite direction of the curve. Unbalanced cargo loads and a high center of gravity force can force a long and unstable tractor-trailer to tip over with devastating results.

Top Causes of Truck Accidents

Often overlooked, the simple process of loading trucks isn’t so simple. Unstable loads are one of the biggest causes of truck accidents. Different methods of safely loading and securing different products like lumber, liquids, and mixed heavy and light loads exist. When you add the difficulties involved in packing trucks based on the delivery order, there’s little wonder that third-party loading specialists are often hired to manage an increasingly complex job.

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Other common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Weight and Momentum. Fully loaded 18-wheelers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and that kind of weight generates incredible momentum when it comes to stopping suddenly. That’s more than 25 times the weight of an average passenger vehicle, which can be crushed like a pancake from a rollover or collision.
  • The Length of Tractor-Trailers. The length of 18-wheelers exposes greater areas to collisions, sideswiping, and the effects of strong winds. In addition, the length makes it possible and likely that an accident will involve multiple vehicles and cause greater corollary property damage.
  • Kinetic Energy Prevents Quick Action. The momentum generated by speed and weight makes it nearly impossible to stop quickly, maneuver around road hazards or change directions to avoid a collision.
  • Dangerous Cargo. One of the obvious reasons why 18-wheeler accidents are so dangerous involves the frequent shipment of dangerous cargo that includes toxic chemicals, heavy equipment, sharp metal edges, and flammable materials.
  • Illegal Shipments. Trucks are used for both legal and illegal shipping. According to a post, contraband goods are often shipped without regard for safety regulations or even legal CDL licenses. Law enforcement officers often become well-aware of illegal infractions that continue even after warnings.
  • Poor Maintenance. Tractor-trailers require regular maintenance and testing of braking ability, safety devices, tires, etc. Even minor lapses can result in disaster, and statistics show that most lapses and carelessness include the most critical areas.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to hire a skilled attorney regardless of whether you were driving the truck or a passenger vehicle involved in a truck accident. For example, you can get help from a truck accident lawyer in Gary, Indiana, for filing a compensation claim or defending against a claim. They will protect your interest and make sure that you come out of it on the good side.

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