Introducing New Safety Features to Large Trucks Could Prevent Tractor-Trailer Crashes

Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are the largest vehicles that the average driver will find on the road. In fact, these vehicles can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when carrying a full load of cargo. Large commercial trucks are thus able to do enormous amounts of damage when involved in accidents with much smaller passenger vehicles.

Despite the risks involved in a tractor-trailer accident, many large trucks lack the advanced safety features that can be found in much smaller cars and trucks which pose far less of a safety threat. Read on to learn about the ways that large tractor-trailer safety features could be improved with the introduction of advanced crash prevention systems, and contact a seasoned Texas personal injury lawyer for a consultation if you’ve been hurt in a crash with an 18-wheeler.

Fatality rates rising among tractor-trailer crashes

In recent years, fatality rates in a motor vehicle crash in the US have jumped markedly. Crashes involving tractor-trailers are no exception to this pattern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016 saw roughly 4,300 people killed in crashes involving large commercial trucks, which is 5% more than were killed in crashes involving trucks in 2015. Whether or not trucking companies are doing all they can to operate safe truck fleets is a subject of some debate. Safety experts have noted that most large trucks lack modern safety features that exist in many passenger vehicles, despite the major accidents that could be prevented if these features were used in large trucks. According to one study, only 15% of all large commercial trucks have a form of collision avoidance or crash warning system installed.

Collision-avoidance systems could address rising fatal crash rates

In many ways, crash avoidance systems could be even more useful in large trucks than they are on passenger vehicles. For example, semi-trucks have massive blind spots that wrap from the passenger side all the way around the side to the rear of the truck. Vehicles driving in these areas are essentially invisible to the driver, and if the truck merges lanes, vehicles riding in these so-called “no-zones” are at risk of being hit or forced off the road or into another vehicle. By installing blind-spot warning and lane drift warning systems, these accidents could be prevented. Additionally, tractor-trailers traveling at highway speeds can need up to 400 meters to come to a complete stop, and if the driver fails to notice an upcoming hazard, they may not begin braking early enough. By equipping these trucks with front-crash warning or automatic emergency braking systems, drivers could get the help they need in bringing their truck to a stop before a crash occurs.

Use Driving Tips to Safely Share the Road with Trucks

Many drivers become nervous when they encounter semis and larger trucks on the road. Driving tips can help you remain in control of your vehicle and avoid the dangers of truck accidents.

The Trucker’s Perspective

Other than the obvious size difference, there are many things a truck driver has to contend with that car drivers do not. Truckers have more blind spots than you might imagine, including the front, back, and both sides of the truck. So it is important for car drivers and motorcyclists to ensure they do not make any sudden moves to cross a truck’s path and to always give fair warning when passing or changing lanes.

It is ideal to pass on the left and to keep up a steady, safe speed while passing. Another good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the mirrors of the truck, the driver cannot see you.

Stopping Distance

The larger the truck, the longer it takes to stop. On average it takes two football fields for a truck to stop when traveling at 65 miles per hour. This demonstrates why you should avoid cutting a truck off. They will not be able to stop safely.

The size of a truck also makes it difficult to merge. Always travel a safe distance behind a truck so you are never in danger of rear-ending them. You will also avoid issues such as a tire blow out.

High Winds

Trucks can be affected by wind speeds which can make it hard for drivers to control their vehicles in higher winds. This means they can drift or lose control of the truck, leading to accidents. Again, keeping your distance and paying close attention to their path will help you pass safely, even when driving in a different lane.

Wide Berth

Last but not least, remember that turning can be very difficult for a truck as they need much more room than smaller vehicles. This is especially true when a truck tries to turn right. They often take up more than one lane, so watch for signals and give them room.

Injured In A Truck Crash in Texas? Call Us For A Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck crash in Texas, find out if you’re a good candidate to file a personal injury lawsuit for money damages by contacting the professional and effective Houston personal injury lawyer Charles J. Argento for a no-cost evaluation of your claim, at (713) 225-5050.

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