Why do big trucks crash so often?
With the numerous freeways and interstates in Illinois, drivers of smaller vehicles are required to share the roads with large tractor-trailer trucks on a daily basis. As GTG Technology Group points out, given that the average 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds while your passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds, it is not difficult to see that you are at far greater risk of catastrophic injury or death when one of these behemoths crashes.
Driver error is the main reason why big trucks crash. The error can be yours or the truck driver’s. While professional truck drivers and their rigs are highly regulated, drivers nevertheless often drive while drowsy, distracted, or otherwise unable to drive in a safe and responsible manner.
Another major cause of truck crashes is improper maintenance. Big rigs drive hundreds of miles each day which naturally takes a toll on their many parts and systems. Not all trucking companies and drivers, however, keep up with needed routine maintenance.
Drivers are supposed to inspect their trucks at the beginning of every shift to check for worn brake pads, improperly functioning brakes and/or lights, and a host of other things that can cause an accident. Not all drivers do these inspections though.
In addition, big trucks, like any other vehicle, may be subject to defective parts and systems. The truck manufacturer, parts manufacturers, and dealer who sold the truck may not have done their jobs properly. Installers and mechanics likewise may have done a poor job of installation and/or repair.
If a big rig’s cargo is improperly loaded and secured, it can shift during a long haul. This can cause a dangerous weight distribution and can even result in a piece of cargo falling out of the truck into the path of your vehicle.
Inclement weather affects all drivers, whatever the size of their vehicles. Rain, ice and snow are particularly dangerous for big trucks given their size, weight and inability to stop as quickly as smaller vehicles. Skidding, hydroplaning and jackknifing all are additional causes of big truck crashes. You should slow down in any kind of bad weather and give big rigs plenty of clearance.