Whether you call them 18-wheelers or big rigs, commercial trucks are imposing vehicles. They are multiple times longer and twice as tall as almost every other vehicle on the road. Pulling up next to a big truck on the highway can make even experienced drivers feel nervous.
That fear you feel stems from the very real risk these large transportation vehicles cause for people in passenger vehicles. Learning about commercial vehicles can help keep you and your passengers safer when you encounter them on the road.
Drivers cause crashes with big trucks by ignoring their limitations
Commercial trucks have big blind spots because of their length and height. Even with extra mirrors and careful monitoring of traffic, truck drivers can fail to spot those right behind or next to their vehicles.
You could also put yourself at increased risk of a crash by merging right in front of a commercial truck. Their massive weight makes it a lot harder for them to slow down or stop. If you don’t give them enough space they could easily rear-end you when you try to merge into the flow of traffic.
Commercial drivers cause a significant percentage of big rig wrecks
According to an analysis of what causes big vehicle crashes, commercial trucks are responsible for many of the crashes they experience. Although environmental factors or vehicle maintenance can cause a crash, studies on collisions involving big trucks show that roughly 87% of commercial wrecks are the result of mistakes or performance issues on the part of the commercial driver.
Big vehicles mean big insurance coverage and more complex claims
Given that a commercial vehicle could cause the destruction of a smaller vehicle and severe injury to its occupants, commercial vehicles have to have higher levels of insurance coverage than passenger vehicles.
This means that the people hurt in commercial crashes have access to more compensation. However, big claims often mean that insurance companies are more aggressive about defending themselves.
Recognizing the ways that commercial vehicles and the crashes they cause are different than passenger vehicles can help you appropriately respond after a crash with a big truck.