While any car crash has the potential to result in serious injury, when it involves a big rig, the likelihood of a devastating outcome increases.
Large trucks have several characteristics that can dramatically raise the level of damage in a crash. Additionally, some aspects of operating an 18-wheeler can make an accident more likely to happen in the first place.
Weight and size
Many drivers instinctively try to steer clear when they see the silhouette of a big rig loom up ahead or in their rearview mirror. A truck’s size can block visibility for other drivers, making it difficult for them to notice hazards.
Because of its massive weight, a truck may be more likely to crash in a situation where a smaller vehicle would manage to avoid an accident. One of the consequences of a higher weight is a longer stopping time, which can become especially dangerous in bad weather or in the case of an unexpected traffic stoppage ahead.
Overloading a truck or improperly securing cargo can also add to the hazards it presents. Excessive or badly balanced cargo can increase the chances of a rollover, especially on slippery or curvy roads.
Some specific circumstances relevant to truck drivers can also increase accident risks. A high level of pressure to make tight delivery deadlines continues to present problems, especially when drivers face unavoidable delays due to traffic, road closures or bad weather. In order to make the deadline, some may resort to speeding, which can increase both the risk of crashes and the level of resulting damage.
Increased risk of drowsy driving
This same pressure can also increase the chances of drivers not getting enough sleep. While the law mandates certain regular rest breaks, not all drivers adhere to them. In addition, even a driver who takes the required breaks may still undersleep. Driving at night can raise the likelihood of drowsy driving. The sedentary nature of the job can also decrease sleep quality.
It is important to know that many truck accidents happen because someone acted negligently. In such a case, accident victims may need to pursue legal recourse. Talking to an attorney about your case can give you clarity as to the best way to move forward.