Accidents between passenger cars and big commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, or semis, are often fatal—to the people riding in the car.
But why? What makes commercial truck accidents so dangerous?
In short, it’s because the differences between passenger cars and big rigs make the dynamics of what happens when a car hits a truck (or vice versa) much different than when a car hits another car.
Here’s what we mean.
They don’t call them “big rigs” for nothing. One of the most obvious dangers of trucking accidents is the sheer mass of the commercial vehicle. Loaded, an 18-wheeler or commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while a passenger car tips the scales at around 3,000. Hitting one of these big trucks is like hitting 26 passenger cars—or more. And when it comes to collisions, sheer mass almost always wins.
The impact of a commercial vehicle often means massive—even catastrophic—injuries for the people in the passenger car.
Another factor that changes the dynamics of a truck accident, making it more dangerous than one involving only cars, is the fact that commercial trucks are difficult to turn. Given the length of many tractor-trailers and their size, a truck can require take up two lanes just trying to make a turn.
Another factor that greatly influences the dynamics of a car/truck accident is the differences in the way the vehicles work. For example, tractor-trailers have completely different brake systems than passenger cars. Not only do a truck’s brakes have to be kept in good working order, but the trucker himself must be able to operate the brakes safely. Overheated brakes can cause a truck to require a longer stopping distance.
Years of commercial trucking accidents have shown that the correct braking technique for a large commercial vehicle to apply them cautiously to slow the truck down. Braking suddenly can cause a big rig to jackknife. When you consider that many commercial trucks are pulling long, heavy trailers behind them which cause the truck to be inherently unstable, and that they have loads that can shift is it clear that braking correctly is critical. This means that big trucks cannot as easily come to a quick stop in case of an emergency, making a collision more likely.
All in all, trucks accelerate, turn, brake, and respond differently than cars do. Each of these differences and their size is a significant factor in making the dynamics of a truck/car accident far more dangerous than an accident involving two cars.
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If you have been injured in a trucking accident or know someone who has, contact us. We are experienced truck accident attorneys. We have offices in Baton Rouge and we serve Baker, Gonzales, Port Allen, New Orleans, Zachary, and several other cities in Louisiana. To schedule your free consultation, call ToDay at (225) 465-1232 or contact us here.