Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Why are Tractor Trailer Wrecks So Serious?

Why are Tractor Trailer Wrecks so serious? Large semi-tractor trailers driving on our roadways is simply a fact of life on almost every American highway. Drivers of smaller vehicles – most notably passenger cars – instinctively try to avoid these behemoths because they seem so threatening even if they are being safely driven. However, this fear is not completely unfounded. There are indeed quite a number of reasons why wrecks involving tractor- trailer are so serious. Here are just a few of the most notable ones:

Tractor trailers are enormously heavy – A fully loaded semi-truck weighs between fifty and eighty thousand pounds. This means there is almost 20 times more weight in a semi than in that of the average midsize car driving on a Kansas highway. This difference is so large that a passenger car involved in a head-on collision with a semi-tractor trailer may as well be running head-on into a building.

They are also quite long – While no one doubts the professionalism and expertise most tractor trailer drivers exhibit when driving a “big rig,” there are distinct and serious challenges involved with controlling a 80-foot long truck over a smaller vehicle. Add the nervousness that most passenger car drivers exhibit when trying to pass these trucks and a real recipe for disaster is created.

Their cargo is often stored improperly – The truck transportation business runs on very tight margins. For this reason, many haulers will try to cut down on time and costs by overloading trailers and not properly balancing the freight inside the trailer. The result is a semi-truck that is far more unstable than a passenger vehicle and much harder to control.

They have longer braking distances – As any physics professor will tell you, more mass requires more braking power to stop a given weight in a certain distance. The brakes on tractor trailers are certainly more powerful than those found on passenger cars but not by the order of magnitude required to stop them in the same distance as the smaller vehicles. This fact results in more rear-end collisions due to semis than any other type of vehicle.

They have large blind spots – No matter how many side- and rear-view mirrors are included on a tractor trailer, the driver will always have to contend with multiple blind spots – on both sides and behind the truck. Trucking companies try to deal with this fact with rigorous training and multiple signs to warn other drivers. Still, passenger cars that sit in the blind spot are often more likely to be hit when a driver makes a routine lane change or brakes just a little too hard.

Big rig” drivers often suffer from driving fatigue – Despite the trucking industry's best efforts to combat the fatigue problem with electronic monitoring technology, many drivers still end up driving more than they are allowed. The economics of the system almost require them to keep driving, even when sick or tired. Otherwise, they simply cannot make a living. As you can imagine, there are countless accidents attributed to this fact.

If you are involved in a tractor trailer wreck, know that you have a skilled attorney on your side, who is ready to help you.

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