Massive commercial trucks, sometimes called big rigs or semitrucks, feature design elements intended to make them efficient for hauling as much as possible across various terrains. They can quickly detach the trailer and pick up a new load. Their size also allows them to carry many times the weight of smaller vehicles.
Large commercial vehicles effectively keep the United States economy running by providing affordable ground transportation for materials and products. Unfortunately, those large commercial vehicles also create substantial risk for other people on the road. Their drivers can and do make mistakes that result in crashes.
Getting into any kind of car crash is a frightening prospect, but commercial truck accidents are particularly terrifying. After all, they have the potential to cause severe, if not fatal, injuries to the people involved.
Bigger vehicles can cause more serious damage
People who get into car crashes between two passenger vehicles may suffer few injuries in some situations, such as when they travel at lower speeds. The people in the vehicles could walk away with nothing more and then a bruise where their seatbelt pushed against their shoulder.
That outcome is much less likely when a passenger vehicle collides with a large commercial truck. The discrepancy in size between the two vehicles often leads to the total obliteration of the smaller vehicle. The people inside may suffer severe injuries.
In many cases, collisions between commercial and passenger vehicles prove fatal for the people in the smaller vehicle. In fact, 97 percent of fatalities in crashes between commercial and passenger vehicles are the people in the smaller vehicle. Even if the victims of the crash survive, their injuries could include compound fractures or even lost limbs.
Drive smart around commercial trucks for your own safety
Although you can't stop commercial drivers for making mistakes on the road, you can give them adequate space and pay close attention when you drive next to them. Avoiding the large blind spots around commercial vehicles, commonly referred to as no zones, will ensure that the driver of the vehicle can see you.
Take great care not to merge directly in front of a semi, as they may not be able to stop without hitting your vehicle from behind. Finally, if conditions are bad and you can't seem to put distance between yourself and a commercial vehicle, it may be safer to change your route than continue to drive directly next to, in front of or behind a semitruck. This is particularly true during times of inclement weather.
Driving carefully around commercial trucks can keep you and the people you love safer, but it can't totally mitigate the risk that commercial trucks create on the road. Those who get hurt or lose a loved one because of a commercial trucking accident may have the right to take civil action against the driver or their company.