California drivers share space with thousands of commercial vehicles every day. Most of the freight transported across America makes at least part of its journey in the back of a large transport truck. Big trucks can weigh as much as forty tons and pose a major safety risk to vehicles and property in their path. While truckers are required to pass tests and have specialized training, motorists have no way of knowing whether a truck is driven by a highway veteran with decades of safe driving under their belt or a new hire fresh from an eight-week training course.
Understanding the dangers that go along with traveling adjacent to big trucks can help motivate passenger car drivers to make safer driving choices during their commutes. A fully loaded 80,000-pound tractor trailer traveling at highway speeds can require 600 feet to stop. If a driver is distracted or fatigued after eight hours on the road, reaction time can be slower. If roads are slick or tires are worn, stopping distance will be significantly longer than two football fields. For these reasons, it simply is not a good decision for an automobile driver to merge into the safety cushion that a trucker is trained to keep in front of his or her rig.
When truckers are making local deliveries on city streets, they require a much larger turning radius than other vehicles. Being mindful of this can help keep motorists out of harm’s way at intersections and in parking lots. Even a low-speed collision with a big truck can cause substantial damage. When motorists practice defensive driving, they are able to ensure that at least one person is looking out for their safety because trusting others to pay attention and not make mistakes can be a deadly mistake.
Collisions involving tractor trailers are among the most serious accidents that regularly occur in the United States. Consulting an experienced lawyer after a truck accident might help injured victims and their families identify specific causes of a crash and make sure the responsible parties are held accountable for their negligence.