As large trucks pass by cars on the freeway, it’s easy to get complacent about driving risks. Drivers may travel several hundred miles in one month alone and see large trucks driving harmoniously with others. However, accidents can occur at any time. There are inherent dangers associated with trucking accidents that simply aren’t present for other types of accidents. Every involved party, including the truck driver, can be at risk. Take a look at what can cause an accident and how to avoid it.
Understanding Passenger Car Size
Whether you drive a compact car or a full-size SUV, your vehicle doesn’t compare in size to standard large trucks. Fully-loaded big rigs can weigh more than 20 times the weight of your car. When you factor in speed to the equation, accidents can be catastrophic in nature. The large truck will nearly always have less damage than the passenger vehicle. The weight and momentum upon impact will determine how serious the accident is in the end.
Cutting Off a Truck
Large trucks will often accelerate slowly because of their heavy loads. Drivers may become frustrated with this slow speed, and they proceed to pass the truck. As the passenger car passes and merges in front of the truck, the truck driver has to brake. Big rigs need more space to brake compared to passenger vehicles, however. If a passenger car cuts too closely in front of the large truck, an accident is highly likely. You can avoid this type of situation by being patient or giving trucks more space on the road.
Underriding a Truck
Another danger of trucking accidents is rear ending a big rig if you’re following too closely to the truck’s rear end. If you don’t notice the truck slowing down, you might strike it. However, passenger vehicles are so low to the ground that they typically don’t strike the truck’s bumper. They might slide right under the large truck and crush their roof. This type of accident is extremely dangerous and often results in major injuries for the passenger car occupants.
Most Vulnerable Areas and Times
It’s a myth that most trucking accidents occur on freeways at 2 a.m. In fact, most accidents occur in broad daylight – between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. These accidents occur most often on side roads, not freeways. Because most large trucks are on the road during the workweek, Monday through Friday are the most common days for an accident to occur.
How to Stay Safe on the Road
Simple rules can keep everyone safe as cars and large trucks ride the same roadways. Always keep some extra space between the passenger car and truck. Don’t tailgate a truck or cut it off. Take care of the roadways by reporting any unusual behavior, such as swerving. Tired drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers. Take care of each other and accidents can dramatically drop over time.
If a trucking accident does occur in the Chicago area, it’s critical to find both medical and legal help almost immediately. As you nurse your wounds, work with a legal professional from Theisen & Roche so you can understand your rights. Every accident is unique, and you may not be at fault. Professional help gives you a chance to recover with little stress involved.