Any type of traffic accident can result in injuries and damages. Drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists — all have the potential to sustain harmful injuries as the result of mechanical malfunctions or driver errors.
However, accidents that involve large commercial trucks have the potential to be much more impactful. This could mean the damage sustained by a struck vehicle could be much worse, or the occupant stands to sustain more injuries and possibly even death.We’ll look into why big truck accidents happen with semis and tractor trailers, how often they happen, and how to safely share the road.
Large Truck Accident Rates
Large trucks are on the roadways at all times of day and are vital to our economy. These vehicles carry important items that keep our store shelves stocked and they often travel large distances. This provides a greater capacity for accidents at any time.
But how many big truck accidents happen in our area?
2019 saw 13,557 large truck crashes in Tennessee. This includes every type of roadway in both rural and urban areas. We might imagine many of these accidents happen at night but the most dangerous time of day for these accidents is a little surprising — noon from Monday through Friday.
The most frequent areas for these accidents were highways and intersections.
But what leads to these accidents?
The most frequent cause of these accidents is a simple error by the driver of the tractor trailer. These machines contain a large capacity for damage, so the results can be dire when the driver makes even a small error.
In fact, the leading example of driver error in 2019 was lane departure. Simply swerving out of their lane can cause a wide variety of issues for surrounding drivers — forcing them into surrounding lanes or off the road, striking them, or creating traffic jams that have negative ripple effects.
Following improperly is the second leading cause of big truck accidents in Tennessee.
These accidents can be avoided with extra care and attention, but there are factors present in big trucks that make this more difficult.
The size of a semi-truck directly relates to its potential for damage. These vehicles provide an essential service to our communities, but they can also pose a danger if you don’t pay special attention to them.
The first way this affects their relation to surrounding traffic is that they don’t have the same capabilities for maneuverability as other vehicles. This means they aren’t able to avoid potential accidents as easily as your personal car or even smaller truck.
Unforeseen incidents are unfortunately common on the road. This could come in the form of another vehicle malfunctioning, debris blowing into the road, or many other possible scenarios. And while you can quickly turn the wheel to avoid these dangers, a big truck won’t be able to avoid them quite as easily.
A decreased ability to quickly turn and move the truck out of harm’s way creates the potential for large accidents. Combine this with their size and whatever happens to be in the way of a big truck could see a large amount of damage as a result.
The weight of these trucks directly affects their ability to stop. The brakes on these vehicles are very impressive, but the sheer size of the trucks combined with a full load of materials means it will take longer for them to come to a complete stop.
This creates many problems, especially when combined with their inherent reduced maneuverability. Driving in front of a semi-truck requires special care with keeping this attribute in mind. You don’t want to be in front of a big truck when something causes you to slam on your brakes. The truck behind you might not be able to stop as quickly as you.
And this creates another bad result from the size of these machines — more damage.
Reducing Your Potential for Injury
Respecting these machines is the first step to reducing your potential of experiencing the results of a big truck accident. Recognize the qualities specific to big trucks and give them as much space as possible, especially when traveling at high speeds.
This includes giving big trucks extra room behind you, in front, and on the side.
Try to only travel alongside a big truck when passing. Their size makes them more susceptible to the wind which can result in occasionally swerving within — or out of — their lane. And try to create distance if you are in front of a big truck. You don’t want to experience the results of an inability to stop in time.
Constant attention is necessary when traversing the roadways. This is even more important when traveling near a tractor trailer. Stay vigilant and put some space between yourself and these impressive vehicles.And if a big truck accident still occurs despite your best efforts, contact Bart Durham Injury Law in Nashville and Bowling Green to get the guidance and compensation you deserve.