Truck drivers get a fair amount of bad press in the media. While some of it is deserved, many truck drivers are professionals who have no desire to cause a truck accident or get traffic tickets. The reason is that these can hurt or even end their careers. There are many factors that work against them, which include the riding characteristics of their vehicles and the many possible mistakes they must always guard against. How this affects your safety on the road is explained next.
Long Braking Distance
Fully loaded semi trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even with multiple brakes on the tractor and its trailer, their stopping distance is longer than that of a car. This means that if you cut them off or brake hard while in front of them, they may not have enough braking distance to avoid a collision with you.
Semi trucks have a high center of gravity, especially when pulling a fully loaded trailer. This top-heaviness makes them prone to rolling over when making a hard turn. In addition, their trailer makes them vulnerable to jackknifing when turning and braking. This limits their ability to take evasive action should you obstruct them in a traffic situation.
Problems with Empty Trailers
While the problems of top-heavy trailers are easy to understand (they’re prone to tipping over), empty trailer vulnerabilities are less obvious. An empty trailer doesn’t exert much downward force on the rear wheels of the tractor. This reduces their traction with the road and makes the tractor-trailer rig more susceptible to jackknifing. This also reduces their ability to take evasive action.
Empty trailers also act like sails because they lack the weight to counter the force of wind gusts acting on their broad surfaces. Wind gusts can cause a truck to make sudden unexpected maneuvers and can even cause one to tip over in extreme conditions. Be careful around trucks on windy days.
Although some trucks have video cameras that eliminate blind spots, most still use mirrors which don’t give a perfect view of the road to the front, sides, and rear of the truck. These large blind spots make lane changing and turning more difficult. Keep this in mind and avoid tailgating, passing on the right side, and cutting in too closely in front of one. The engine hood can block the truck driver’s view of the road space immediately in front of the truck.
If you were involved in a truck accident in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C., the Law Offices of John Critzos, II can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 844-Take-MyCase or visit our website at www.844TakeMyCase.com.
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