- Law

Why Are Tractor Trailer Accidents So Serious?

Tractor Trailer Accidents

Most drivers are nervous when they share the road with large tractor trailers, and it is easy to understand why since truck and tractor trailer accidents tend to be really serious. The big problem is that you always risk suffering much more serious injuries when faced with an accident that involves a tractor trailer. Here’s why.

Much Higher Vehicle Mass

The tractor trailer can easily weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When compared with the average car that just weighs around 4,000 pounds, it is easy to see that a collision between the two can be catastrophic.

Fortunately, modern cars do include advanced safety features that can help, like a frame that is built do withstand a lot of pressure. Even so, this might not be enough and vehicle passengers can end up faced with very serious injuries like spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and even amputations.

High Speed Collisions

The driver of a car slams the brakes and reduces the speed of the vehicle when the possibility of an accident is noticed. This reduces the force of the impact. The truck driver does do exactly the same thing. However, a truck will take a lot longer to stop.

For instance, when the truck travels at a speed of 55 mph, it needs around 370 feet to reach a complete stop. For the average passenger vehicle, the distance needed is just 121 feet.

More Time Spent Driving

Every single day, commercial truck drivers are allowed to drive for 11 hours if their shift is of 14 hours. Then, they have a break of 10 hours and quickly get back to driving. This is especially the case when faced with specific seasons when trucking is very busy.

At first glance, the fact that the truck driver drives a lot looks like an advantage. This is true in the sense that more experience is gained. However, driving too much can lead to several risks that rarely appear with passenger vehicles, like:

  • Inattention
  • Distraction
  • Inebriation
  • Drowsiness

All of these can lead to a decreased attention while driving and slower reaction times.

Inadequate Training

Special training is required to drive a tractor trailer, but this training is often quite limited. Also, during training, the load used is minimal. This means that the truck drivers with a new license do not really have the skills and preparation needed to handle a very large truck. The unqualified driver can end up causing very serious damage.

To make matters worse, most of the courses offer zero exposure to important accident risks. As an example, the truck driver never learns how to properly pull the truck out of jackknife. There are advanced courses that help with the use of simulators but most of the truck drivers actually gain their experience while on the road.