Without the trucking industry, the bulk transport of materials and goods that's so essential to our economy isn't possible. However, semi-trucks aren't the safest of vehicles and endanger the driving public with whom they share the road.
The reason for their relative lack of safety is that semi-trucks are built to carry cargo. This compromises their stability and maneuverability, which has led to many devastating accidents. Driving trucks safely require skill and professionalism that some truck drivers lack. Here are three fundamental reasons for the dangers of semi-trucks:
They Are Massive
One semi-truck can weigh as much as twenty-five cars. This means they require more braking distance to slow down or stop than the average car. It also means that trucking accidents with the driving public often have devastating consequences.
They Are Unstable
Compared to cars, semi-trucks are very long and have a high center of gravity. This is necessary for carrying lots of cargo, but makes them top-heavy and prone to roll-overs and jackknifing. This limits their ability to make quick emergency maneuvers such as swerving to avoid a collision. Swerving too sharply can induce a rollover in dry pavement conditions or a jackknife in slippery conditions.
A truck's center of gravity changes depending on the load it carries and the truck driver must take this into account when cornering. A fully loaded trailer means that roadway curves must be taken at slower speeds. On the other hand, an empty trailer is vulnerable to strong wind gusts, which can tip the semi-truck over.
They Have Large Blind Spots
Another consequence of their large size is that semi-trucks have very large blind spots. The largest of these are behind and on both sides of the truck. Semi-trucks also have a blind spot in front. The engine hood blocks the driver's view of the road immediately in front of the truck's front bumper. Cars and motorcycles that cut in too closely in front of a truck are invisible to its driver. These blind spots degrade the truck driver's situational awareness.
If you suffered an injury in a trucking accident, seek legal advice from our experienced lawyers. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, contact us.