What Makes Trucking Accidents So Dangerous?

Georgia B. Day

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.

Sheer Mass

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.

Control Differences

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.

Compassionate. Experienced. Dedicated to Getting You the Compensation You Deserve.

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, callToDayat 225-200-0000 orcontact us here.

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Justin A. Day

A proud graduate of Southern University Law Center and former president of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Justin is best known for providing his clients with the personal attention they need while fighting hard to get them the compensation they deserve. Justin and his team are not afraid to take on the tough cases or fight the good fight. Dedicated and tenacious, for over 18 years, Justin has consistently achieved superior results for the clients he serves.

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Georgia B. Day

Georgia B. Day

Georgia B. Day is an experienced personal injury and worker’s compensation attorney. A former Administrative Law Judge for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Georgia is driven by a desire to obtain justice for individuals injured in the workplace and those who have been injured due to the carelessness of others. Georgia takes pride in providing her clients with the best possible representation. Polished and professional, Georgia is best known for her excellent work ethic, obtaining superior results, and her responsiveness to clients.

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