Orlando is famous for its entertainment and tourist destinations. It is also infamous for its traffic. More traffic leads to more accidents, which in turn means more injuries. Car accident injuries are particularly common—and particularly severe—when a large truck is involved. Semi trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, tanker trucks and other heavy big rigs are a greater mechanism of injury than a small passenger vehicle. This is a physics lesson that many truck accident victims learn the hard way.
Why are Trucks So Dangerous?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 25% of all American workplace fatalities in 2015 occurred in the trucking industry. There are many factors which contribute to the staggeringly dangerous nature of this profession.
- Long hours, low pay, and tough working conditions have caused turnover among truck drivers to remain near one hundred percent. This means that truck drivers on the roadway are almost always inexperienced.
- Pay within the trucking industry is usually structured by mileage—not by the hour. This means that truck drivers have financial incentive to speed or drive while tired, and to skip necessary safety checks of their equipment, cargo, and vehicle.
Of course, the dangers of driving trucks affect many people beyond those in the trucking industry. An inexperienced or tired trucker is a danger to everyone on the road. If the truck is carrying flammable cargo or other hazardous material, the driver becomes a risk to everyone in the vicinity, as well.
How Can Drivers Stay Safe Around Large Trucks?
While there is no way to eliminate all possible dangers associated with large trucks, drivers can protect themselves by driving defensively and following these guidelines:
- Slow down! Large trucks maneuver more slowly than small vehicles, and they cannot quickly respond to cars that weave around them or make sudden movements. Speed should also be reduced any time that visibility is reduced such as at night, due to weather, or other circumstances.
- Allow extra space between your vehicle and any large vehicle nearby. Large, heavy vehicles require greater stopping distance, and an unexpected obstacle in the road can be disastrous for a vehicle following a truck too closely.
- Pay careful attention to the cargo hold of nearby trucks. Liquid cargo creates a sloshing effect, which can both propel the vehicle forward and cause the tank to sway across the road. Wind, slick roadways, and other weather conditions can also make it difficult for a truck driver to maintain control of his or her vehicle.
- Watch for trucks in construction zones. Trucks are typically found on shoulders, in medians, and other unexpected places in and around construction zones.
If you're injured in a crash with a large truck, there may be numerous defendants who could be liable, making these cases more complex than the average auto accident. That's why you should call a lawyer with extensive experience and proven success if you've been injured in an accident with a truck.