Over weight truck accidents

How Truck Size and Weight Contribute to Accidents

It’s no secret that tractor-trailer crashes are catastrophic for everyone involved. The sight of an overturned tractor-trailer with cargo strewn across the road is hard to forget, especially when you learn about the serious injuries that often come with these collisions. A truck’s size and weight play a major role in accidents and understanding this can change how you drive around these vehicles.

What is your next step if you or someone you love has been hurt in a crash? It’s time to talk to the team at Bailey Javins & Carter. Call us at 800-497-0234 to schedule your free consultation now.

Truck Size and Road Safety

The larger and heavier a vehicle is, the more damage it is capable of causing. A larger vehicle generates more force as it moves, and when it crashes into something, that force must go somewhere. Unfortunately, it is generally absorbed by the smaller vehicle and its occupants. When a tractor-trailer is at its maximum weight load, it’s over 20 times heavier than a passenger vehicle. With that type of size disparity, any type of contact is going to have a disastrous outcome.

Perhaps one of the greatest dangers of trucks is their blind spots. When you’re navigating a truck that large, you want to be completely aware of your surroundings. But since tractor-trailers have blind spots on all four sides, that’s essentially impossible. The blind spot extends in front of the truck, on the left and right sides at an angle, and a significant distance behind the truck. What’s worse is that few passenger vehicle drivers understand just how massive the blind spot is, so they don’t know how much distance they need to keep to stay safe.

Weight Distribution Matters

A truck’s weight distribution is an important contributing factor in many accidents. A truck carrying several tons must be as stable as possible, especially since trucks already have a high center of gravity that predisposes them to rollovers. If a truck’s load is even slightly unbalanced, a lane change or turn could cause the cargo to shift. 

It is incredibly difficult for even the most experienced truck driver to maintain control of their vehicle when they have several tons of cargo pulling them in one direction or the other. There are also major risks associated with overloaded trucks. Maneuvering a truck is even harder when it’s over its weight limit, and any unexpected obstacle could lead to a serious collision.

Handling Challenges Faced by Truck Drivers

Driving a tractor-trailer is a challenging task, and truck drivers have to be taught how to handle a wide range of potential situations and obstacles. To start, the tasks that are incredibly easy for passenger vehicle drivers are among the hardest for truck drivers. Trucks have a large turn radius which means that every single turn has to be carefully planned and executed. If it’s not, a 100-point turn or accident could follow. Additionally, braking distances are significantly longer for large trucks than for smaller vehicles. This requires intense planning when a driver is approaching a traffic jam or merging lanes. Drivers who develop defensive driving strategies often fare much better with these challenges.

Accident Severity

In addition to causing several crashes, a truck’s size and weight can also contribute to accident severity. The faster the truck is going at the time of the crash, the more likely it is that the occupants of the other vehicle will suffer severe or fatal injuries—and since you are most likely to encounter tractor-trailers on the highway, that puts you at a disadvantage. Although tractor-trailer collisions make up a smaller-than-average number of total crashes, they generally account for a greater-than-expected share of fatalities.

Start Your Truck Accident Claim with Bailey Javins & Carter

Fighting for compensation after a tractor-trailer accident can feel like an uphill battle, thanks to the insurance company and trucking company pushing back on your efforts. That’s why it’s important to reach out to the team at Bailey Javins & Carter. Our Charleston truck accident lawyers are ready to help you seek justice. Contact us online or call us at 800-497-0234 to get started.